Staying Social and Connected While Social Distancing


staying social while social distancing


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With social distancing and staying at home becoming increasingly prevalent, finding a way to connect and interact with friends and family has shifted from in-real-life to virtual. For those of us accustomed to working at home, shifting our social lives to the internet isn’t much of a stretch.

However, for many people, the “at home” lifestyle is new and challenging in more ways than one. And, even for those of us used to the “virtual life,” given the circumstances, it’s easy to feel a little anxious.

So, instead of sitting on the couch, watching a never-ending stream of talking heads, consider putting your skills to good use and help others who need a helping hand.

Use Your Powers for Good

Remote work often means being your own tech support department, which also means you’ve probably got a lot of useful skills. Share those skills with others and be virtual tech support for your friends and family.

Teach People How to Use Their New Tools

Working at home usually means meeting online. You’re probably a pro at using Zoom or other video platforms (and picking out a virtual background), setting up group chats, using Slack for phone calls, and a million other things.

While it’s not like these tools are new, many people probably have a limited understanding of how to use them effectively. Share your knowledge and help people learn the ins and outs of meeting online (and how to troubleshoot the inevitable hiccups!).

Set up Their Virtual Life

There’s more to online living than firing up a virtual meeting app every once in a while. While you’re sharing your knowledge and helping people learn how to live online, help them stay safe, too.

Offer to help people set up a VPN (and explain what it is and why they might want to use one). Give them the tricks and tips for extending (and sharing) wifi in the house. Alert them to common scams and help them understand how to identify a scam (and tell them what to do if they run across one), as well as misinformation.

Help with Digital Tasks

While many people are organizing their physical lives right now, now is a great time to organize their digital lives, too.

Help people organize their photos online. Explain why (and where) they should back up their hard drive and their phone. And have them download (and use) virus protection.

Be a Manners Expert

Even though many (if not all) of our social interactions are happening virtually right now, that’s no reason to forget about manners! That’s not to say that people are online trolling others and making trouble. However, oftentimes, people online are accidentally rude (which doesn’t make it any less rude!).

Help people navigate the ins and outs of online etiquette. Explain that yes, all caps is just like shouting. If you’re having a group meet-up without video, teach people how to handle things politely (like that you should explain what you’re doing instead of letting a long silence hang in the air while you search for something).

Activities That Help Bring People Together While Social Distancing

For some of us, doing “things” can help us feel like we have a little bit of control over our situation, ease or anxiety, and give us something positive to do and think about. If “taking the lead” isn’t your thing, your remote work experience still gives you the skill set to help others take the lead.

Here are a few ideas for online activities you or others can organize and host.

Virtual Book Group

Just because you can’t meet in person doesn’t mean your book club (or any club!) has to end. Move the discussion online and chat about your favorite book in a virtual setting (and BYOB). The same goes for in-person classes you and your friends may miss out on right now.

Host a Party

Unfortunately, many events and celebrations have been postponed or canceled. But, that doesn’t mean they have to be a total loss. It’s not quite the same, but consider having an online celebration. “Happy Birthday,” will still sound just as nice, even if you’ll have your own cupcakes at home.

Virtual Game Night

Host a virtual game night. Sure there are tons of multiplayer video games you and your friends can play, but also consider virtual board and card games. You can play Uno, Settlers of Catan, and even Monopoly.

Viewing Parties

Movie theaters are closed, but that doesn’t mean movies with friends are out. Try Netflix Party to have a fun movie night in but with friends. Not on Netflix? You can still use a meeting app to stream and share your screen!

One old school tip: if you and your friends have the same channels, pick one, and everyone watches from their own screen at the same time while on the phone or video chat.

Share Your Passions

Instead of consuming the content, why not create it? Share your passions online and create a free tutorial or class and teach a new skill. It can be painting, drawing, or how to organize your junk drawer. You can record your class and post it online, or stream it live.

Set-Up a Scavenger Hunt

Social distancing doesn’t mean never leaving the house. Set up a virtual scavenger hunt for the neighborhood kids. For example, you can post to a neighborhood group that everyone should leave a stuffed animal in their window. Then, when young ones are bored, the parents can take them for a walk while they “bear hunt.”

Set-Up a Sharing Table

This suggestion is, of course, not virtual, but just as important. If you are fortunate enough to have extra supplies, consider setting up a free sharing table in your neighborhood. Encourage others to donate what they have, and let everyone know that if they need supplies, there’s a place to grab some for free.

Coming Together (Virtually)

It’s hard to move to a completely “virtual” life, but it’s something that has to happen in the near term. Luckily, you can still stay social while social distancing. Using your remote work skills can help make things a little easy and enjoyable for everyone while we come together, even though we’re apart.

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Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

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Rachel Pelta is the Content Coordinator for FlexJobs. With professional experience in job placement and as a manager, she creates content to help people succeed in their job search, and to help managers get the best out of their staff.…Read More >

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