How to Stay Connected under the International Travel Ban

The latest travel advisory issued March 19 by the U.S. State Department restricts all American citizens from traveling abroad due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s a measure put in place to help control the spread of the virus and keep Americans as safe as possible. While these travel restrictions may put a damper on work, relationships or the sense of adventure for some Americans, there are ways to remain globally connected and engaged from the comforts of home.

Get Work Done Across the Miles

Remote communication may not always be easy, but it can still be effective. If you suddenly find yourself unable to carry on face-to-face meetings with team members or clients who are located in other countries, here are some ideas to promote healthy collaboration:

  • Communicate clearly and often. It can be hard enough to stay connected to everyone within the same building, let alone colleagues and clients who are several time zones ahead of or behind you. It’s critical that you speak with them on the phone, via text or other technology beyond what you probably consider normal. Regular updates and good ongoing communication will bring consistency and certainty to virtual conversations and promote continued productivity. 
  • Bridge the distance with technology. A personal connection is a plus in any business situation. Cloud storage solutions, shared workplaces and sharing technology can make working from afar a seamless process. Check out these savvy tools for keeping work going.
  • Continue to celebrate milestones. Creating virtual rituals for celebration and socializing can strengthen relationships and collaboration. For example, celebrate a new employee or achievement with an emoji that represents the success. It might just become a workplace norm.

Keep in Touch with Faraway Loved Ones

Now that social distancing is a thing and travel abroad isn’t allowed, it may take some creative measures to remain connected to friends or family members who live overseas. If you can’t be physically engaged with significant others, here are some ideas for shortening the divide:

  • Use a variety of tools and techniques for connection. Conversations that happen in real-time over the phone or videochat can definitely foster closeness, but so can minimal contact like sharing links or sending short messages through social media. If you prefer to carve out a bigger chunk of time for those who are far away, one slightly unusual means may be to start a videochat with them and leave it running for an hour or two in the background as you go about your day. Both parties will gain a sense of togetherness.
  • Make passive communication meaningful. Another more passive way of interacting long-distance is to watch a movie or TV show at the same time from afar. There are tools for syncing up Netflix across multiple computers and for streaming the same video on different screens.

Take an International Trip from Your Couch   

You can still have a cultural experience even though a trip abroad may be put on hold. Here’s how to enjoy the sites and traditions of some of the world’s greatest cities without breaking quarantine:

  • Stream a performance from Paris, or elsewhere. Many musicians and theaters are keeping their gigs going online while live concerts and events are cancelled or postponed.
  • Get a 360o tour of some classics. See the Sistine Chapel, Great Wall of China or other historic locations to get cultured and feel connected without packing a bag.
  • Cook the cuisine. If you can’t visit a country, you can at least experience its food. For instance, one YouTube cooking channel highlights traditional Chinese recipes you can make in your own kitchen.

Being confined at home doesn’t mean you have to be or feel alone. Today, there are so many ways to connect with family and friends near and far and experience adventures from the comfort of your home.

Sources:

Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review

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