Did you ever imagine you’d miss morning huddles around the whiteboard or the sounds of your cubemate munching on their mid-morning snack? What about lunch time, knowing it would more often than not lead you to pushing aside your packed lunch to grab a bite to eat with your team members?
No matter the remote work benefits you’re currently enjoying, you may find yourself missing what working in a traditional office setting meant: good ‘ole human connection outside of our trusted digital technology platforms.
If that’s the case, we’re here to share five tips for staying connected with your coworkers when you work remotely.
1. Communicate Early + Regularly
The first week at a new job can be filled with butterflies. You’re not only starting a new role, you’re also meeting new people who you’ll be interacting with and working alongside daily. When you work remotely, however, that first week can offer more challenges as time and space separates you from your team members.
Want to know what makes for a smoother transition? Engaging in remote communication early and regularly. When your team lead introduces you as the newest member, don’t be shy! Show your appreciation for the warm welcome and share some info about yourself (like where you’re located or what you’re looking forward to in your new role), so others can get to know you better and find common ground.
From there, show your face when you’re invited to attend a Zoom meeting. Is it easier to turn off your camera, so you can stay in your PJs? Yes. But we’re big-time fans of dressing the part for ultimate productivity (and self-care). Plus, it’s a great opportunity to reap the benefits of “face-to-face” interaction.
Lastly, avoid losing that first week momentum. With remote work, there’s a good chance you’ll get in the zone — finding comfort in your home office while plugging away on your to-do list. It’s awesome to be passionate about what you do and drive positive results for your company, but remember, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Keep regularly building those bonds!
2. Champion Virtual Coffee Chats
Why is communication important in the workplace? Obvious reasons include boosting employee engagement and productivity. But did you also know that, according to a study by Officevibe, 70% of employees said friends are the most crucial element of a happy work life? On top of that, Gallup Research has found that those who have strong work relationships are more engaged, produce higher-quality work and have a higher state of well-being.
All that to say, no matter if you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned remote pro, connecting with your coworkers when you work remotely is going to take some effort. But it’s worth it. One easy way to begin cultivating those connections is by championing virtual coffee chats with members of your team.
Send out one-on-one invites to a few of your workers, asking them to join you in your personal Zoom room for a casual, get-to-know-you conversation over coffee. You could even plan to cowork together during this time. Such a simple gesture can make a big impact!
3. Proactively Engage on Company Channels + Participate in Planned Activities
There are two key types of communication in the workplace — synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous takes place in real-time and asynchronous is the opposite — all parties can participate when they’re willing and able.
In this case, we invite you to proactively engage in asynchronous communication on platforms like Slack (oh, and show off your personality by using appropriate emojis!). Are you stuck on a problem? Reach out. There’s a good chance one of your team members has encountered something similar and can lend a hand. Recently read a good book or learn a new, helpful tip? Share with your people! They’ll appreciate hearing your perspective and growing their knowledge with you.
Aside from that, don’t miss the opportunity to participate in planned activities that interest you based on what your organization offers, such as virtual Lunch ‘n Learns, fitness challenges, happy hours, and maybe even a book club. It’s team bonding at its core!
4. Lean On + Cheer On Your “Virtual Buddy”
In the remote work world, having someone you can lean on during the onboarding process can make all the difference to your success at the organization. Maybe you were paired up with someone right away — great! Take advantage of this resource by asking them questions and making time to get to know them better, as well as what they bring to your team.
If your remote work organization hasn’t yet retained the concept of a “virtual buddy,” not to worry. Take matters into your own hands by scouting out someone close to you in your team’s hierarchy to “pair up” with. Or, maybe this isn’t so much a spoken agreement — instead, you might find yourself gravitating towards an RTM, and the two of you support each other often!
Also, consider shouting out each others’ accomplishments when the opportunity presents itself via Slack. It’s always easier to brag about someone else than about yourself. Your remote work accomplishments deserve to be celebrated!
5. Connect on Other Social Platforms
While this is one of our less traditional tips for staying connected, it just might kick your remote work relationships up a notch — if you’re comfortable opening up that door! How, you ask? Zoom meetings and Slack check-ins scratch the surface of fun happenings beyond work hours (read: adding a puppy to the family or hosting family you haven’t seen in a while). Or, maybe the opportunity presents itself, but you’re just not feeling like standing under the spotlight for a minute. And that’s perfectly okay!
Add your closest remote team members on LinkedIn and Facebook, maybe even Instagram. Whatever you’re comfortable with. Doing so further encourages sharing among your fellow team members — all while building that bridge from distant coworker to someone they know and trust!
No matter how you choose to stay connected, prioritize mindful communication in the workplace.
Here at Instant Teams, we’re grounded in mindful communication policies that outline best practices in daily workflow. Team dynamics live and breathe within how communication is supported and encouraged. That said, the easiest way to always keep the flow of communication open and healthy is by being mindful. Avoid adopting a passive communication style as a professional. Meaning, don’t assume someone knows something, and don’t hesitate to ask if something isn’t clear to you.
Over-serve (don’t over-share), show up for your team every day to offer status updates, be effective and quick with your messaging, and burst the remote work bubble by being intentional with your team member “bump ins.” Download our Ethos for Professional Communication in a Remote Work Environment if you’re looking for more insight into this tip!
Want to find your place with a company where remote works, featuring a community of peers who are available to support and empower you along your career journey? Create or update your Arti profile with Instant Teams.