Forming cadence: Understanding and cultivating

Mind the Cadence with Dr. Beth Schinoff


Mind the Cadence: A Framework for Navigating Virtual Work Relationships

Dr. Beth Schinoff

Earlier this month, the Alliance had the privilege of hosting Dr. Beth Schinoff, Assistant Professor in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, at our Alliance U to discuss: Mind the Cadence: A framework for navigating virtual work relationships.

At our program, Dr. Schinoff, discussed the framework of relational cadence, the extent to which people feel like they can anticipate when and how interactions with colleagues will go in a virtual world. She discussed the importance of coworker friendship and how now, more than ever, relationships are more difficult to maintain virtually.

Since relationships are what help keep us engaged in the work place, it is crucial for us to figure out a way to maintain relationships in today’s virtual world.

Working Virtually…

  • Is more formal
  • Makes people feel “Watched” or “Tracked”
  • Centered on efficiency

Beth discussed the two different types of cadence: Work-related vs. Friendship-related and the importance of building both (multiplex cadence) especially now to ensure employees feel comfortable and cultivate good work:

Forming cadence: Understanding and cultivating

From Beth’s presentation and case study deep dive, she shared the following important insights:

  • Changed Meanings: Working virtually transforms employees’ understanding of interactions and relationships
  • Conscious effort: Virtual multiple relationships require a very conscious process of relational cadence
  • Managers matter: Without managers setting the stage, employees didn’t feel like they could form personalized relationships
  • The friendship effect: When working virtually, a friendship-related cadence has greater potential to enhance, rather than stress, work-related cadence

What we can do with our employees to help maintain our relationships the best we can:

Set the stage: Simulate “water cooler” moments

Open calls a few minutes early and leave them open a few minutes after –perhaps with a less work-related question. Don’t record during this time.

Can you meet in [socially distanced] person?

If so, take advantage of the time together to build more personalized relationships, especially early-on in person

Be deliberate in your own interactions

Ask how your colleagues are before getting down to business

Thank you Beth for your insight and research on this relevant topic!