The weekday nine-to-five office set-up appears to be a thing of the past, with many workers opting for a hybrid arrangement that gives them the flexibility to work some days a week remotely. This, of course, comes with plenty of benefits for both the company and the workers. The World Economic Forum reports that hybrid work arrangements contribute to better organizational performance by preventing turnovers and increasing employee engagement.
With hybrid work arrangements come virtual connections—Zoom or Slack have become lifelines for workers in the modern business world. Yet, the issue remains: how do we foster genuine connections and create symbiotic professional relationships with limited face-to-face interactions? The answer is simple: Networking. It is a process of building social relations to achieve professional growth, facilitate an exchange of ideas, or establish contacts across various industries. The advantages of networking cannot be discounted even in the digital landscape, where reaching out to a larger group of people has become far more accessible than ever.
Here are four reasons why you need to continue networking in the digital landscape:
1. To learn from others in the industry
It’s common to reach roadblocks as you try to create and implement innovations in your career. Hearing new ideas from colleagues or industry experts can inspire you to keep growing while trying new things. Joining or setting up networking events through online platforms like EventCube or Airmeet will allow you to hear fresh insights or learn from the best practices other organizations are implementing in their offices. This exchange of information is precisely the heart of networking. Knowing new techniques and bringing them to your job will undoubtedly give you unique perspectives that will help you to succeed in your current role.
2. To move your career forward
Job seekers stand to benefit from a vast network of contacts. In truth, networking is essential in moving your career forward because it allows you to learn about employers before making direct contact. This gives you a tremendous advantage over the sea of other job applicants because, these days, it’s not enough to simply exchange business cards or connect on Facebook with professionals in your circles. By proactively nurturing solid relationships with people in your industry through activities like digital mentorship sessions through Microsoft Teams, you can maximize the value of your connections and position yourself strategically for the career path you want to pursue.
3. To establish yourself within the professional community
Networking can help you access people across various levels in the industry and introduce you to top business leaders. Having that foot in the door can open you up to more lucrative financial and professional opportunities within your circles. Constant communication via Intch, for instance, can help with name recall while unlocking wisdom and career advice that are key to your future growth. Career coach Karen Dennison drives this point by urging you to look at networking as a research skill instead of a social skill. Aside from that, networking is also an excellent way to share your skills and wisdom and empower those still building their careers. Sometimes, all it takes is a quick coffee or some small talk during industry events to inspire or to be inspired.
4. To increase your social well-being
Networking is not just a way to climb the career ladder—it can also be a fertile ground for friendship. Because hybrid work arrangements can further the distance between you and your colleagues, networking opens up opportunities to build lasting friendships that can increase your overall happiness and zest for life. By fostering deeper connections with people, you can find colleagues that share the same interests and hobbies as you, whether it be travel, books, or sports. Having that common ground can even inspire you to pursue a passion project or start a new mentorship or business opportunity.
Networking has social and professional advantages for employees, wherever they may be in their career journey. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the flexibility of your hybrid work arrangements to create meaningful and impactful business relationships.