Pandemic lockdowns, hybrid work culture changed people’s idea of social intimacy for good. This is a time to check your social capital and improve your social muscle. Investing in social intimacy might be a good idea in these uncertain times!
Nona Walia – Everyone is facing a social dilemma: how to be socially intimate in a hybrid culture. How we gather, how we meet changed during the pandemic. Social distancing led us to be socially awkward. Our social media network also changed the way we network. In 2022, as the world gathers again, parties and travels with a renewed frenzy, there’s a change in social intimacy. A good question to ask yourself: What’s the worth of your social capital? Has it changed? This change would visible in friendships, relationships and your social circles.
Socialising is giving people a social hangover like never before. Our new social dynamics changed everything during the pandemic. Be it our social interactions, friendships, workplace relationships – social intimacy was fast changing. Lockdowns, hybrid work culture, job losses changed our friendship groups. Social distancing made us less energetic and enthusiastic. The acquisition of social capital helps us feel good about ourselves. Social capital online and off-line offers a wider network. These are volatile and uncertain times. Disruptive technologies make markets risky daily. Investing in social intimacy and capital becomes a must in these times.
Social intimacy is a life-long investment that takes time, energy, and focus. Social connections in the workplace can benefit employees’ well-being and sense of purpose. It gives a sense of belonging. The one word that goes while being socially intimate is: intentionality. The moment you make connections, you are encouraging trust. This is a time when leaders in organisations should enable social intimacy between workers to energise the environment. Says Guncha Khare, Senior Director, Strategy, Dextrus, “I think strong social ties can be associated with increased mental health. The pandemic forced all of us to practice social distancing to an extent we never imagined, now we must return to fostering social intimacy. Workforces today are looking at more than just a place to work, coworking spaces today facilitate this by offering packages like bundles, or flexi memberships that allow flexibility in the way people use the services. This is true especially for the organizations who continue in the hybrid model.
At our organisation, we pursue #GiftingforGood where we collaborate with our members to financial support to a few NGOs. Hybrid working is now evolving as one of the new ways of working but physical disconnection or distance can more often than not lead to psychological distances. We must introduce new ways of social cohesiveness and out of work catchups. These informal interactions build the social capital of a company which in turn helps in productivity and a positive work environment. Companies can also help people make connections by forming networks. Social intimacy is the new energiser.”
To have sustainable relationships, we must flex our social muscles. In their book In Good Company, authors Dan Cohen and Lawrence Prusak talk about networks of social connection, trust, and commitment cannot be manufactured or engineered, only encouraged. Social capital thrives on authenticity and withers in the presence of phoniness or manipulation. Social intimacy is for those who believe in ‘light touch leadership’ and not for control freaks. The first principle of building great social capital is: Do no harm.
Mental health experts advise socialising is the thing we need to do right now. New patterns of friendships, communities and networks based on kindness form new structures of social intimacy. ‘Comforting communities’ is the new buzzword. New friendships that emerged during lockdowns were based on ‘comfort’. If organisations are following hybrid culture, they need to find unique ways to build on social capital and help build social muscle. The reality is that our social muscles have broken down; we need to build them again. Deep, well-meaning connections and networks help build energetic communities and lives. So, where’s the party tonight?