The way we work has changed completely in the last two years. Before the pandemic, remote working was starting to gain popularity, but it definitely wasn’t the norm.

As a result of Covid-19, we essentially saw a decades’ worth of progress made in the space of a few short weeks. Companies had to embrace technology, support their staff virtually, and trial working from home.

This systematic shift has completely changed the world of work forever. In fact, according to research by Glassdoor, nearly half of employees (45%) expect to work fully remote or in a hybrid capacity in the future.

Of course, there are plenty of perks associated with remote working. No commutes, a better work-life balance, and the chance to move out of expensive city centres are just a few. But there are also downsides too, the main one being a big reduction in interaction.

As we embrace remote working, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to connect with our colleagues and clients in the same way.

A quick coffee with a coworker now needs to be scheduled over Zoom, staff nights out are no longer impromptu trips to the pub after work, and meeting someone for lunch requires much more effort.

The same Glassdoor survey found that 48% of employees have felt isolated from coworkers during the pandemic. This huge issue has encouraged a rise in professional online social networks such as Fishbowl, Clubhouse, and LinkedIn. Here’s why they’re becoming so popular.

The best way to network

A few years ago, the best place to meet professionals in your field would have been through industry events and conferences. Today, you can do that online from the comfort of your own home.

Having a community of people in your chosen field is invaluable. You never know when you might need a reference or even just some advice. Joining an online social network is a great way to get your name out there and make a lasting impression.

Employees need advice

Whether they want to know about the best pension plan or how to negotiate a raise, employees have lots of questions. When you’re not getting to see your coworkers in person, it can be hard to raise these questions over email.

In fact, 2 in 5 (40%) of employees have withheld work-related questions due to feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious when talking with coworkers. However, on networking apps like Fishbowl, professionals can post questions and get advice from real people in their field. They can even adjust their privacy settings if they don’t want to share their name, role, or employer.

Level the playing field

Online networking platforms are a great way to get past the usual hierarchy that exists in companies. Fishbowl proudly states: “We’re democratizing workplace conversations and putting junior professionals and CEOs on a level playing field. We can all learn from one another whether it’s through an organic conversation or formal Q&As with industry leaders.”

Through these apps you can have access to key players in your field and learn from the best in the business.

An innovative way to search for a new job

Did you know that 44% of employees plan to search for a new job in the next 12 months? That’s a huge amount of people that will be scanning jobs boards, looking for referrals, and asking questions about salary expectations.

Professional social networks are a great place to hear about jobs before they’re even advertised or to form connections with important managers. When it comes to business, the old adage is still true, it’s all about who you know. With the rise of online platforms it’s never been easier to form those important bonds.

Promote equality

Networking apps are also one of the biggest steps forward when it comes to achieving equality in the workplace. Historically, discussing salaries in the workplaces was a big no-no. In fact, some employers had strict rules against this.

However, thanks to online conversations, people are being more honest about their compensation. Employees are starting to realize their worth and fighting for better pay. This will undoubtedly help equality and diversity in the workplace.

Have you joined an online social network yet?

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