How to Stay Connected While Working Remotely
Working remotely has lots of benefits, and that’s why the number of employers and employees that prefer it is increasing fast today. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the percentage of individuals working remotely in the US alone increased from 5% to 37%.
However, remote working can potentially increase loneliness, which negatively affects productivity.
Here are some practices you can add to your daily routine to keep your connection with your coworkers or break up your day to avoid feeling isolated.
If you’re stuck inside your working station all day working, you are most likely to develop the dangerous feeling of loneliness. You can get outside your remote office at fixed intervals to fix this with ease. For example, you can get out to a hotel or café nearby during some or all breakfast or lunch breaks.
You can also change your work environment to a co-working space if you work from your private office or home.
Reach Out to Your Coworkers
You can also stay connected by reaching out to your coworkers during your regular work hours. Ensure you create time for this important activity during the planning stage.
You can create a virtual meetup or happy-hour group where you and your teammate can hang out at specific times. If you’re like me, you can start a virtual water cooler chat on your preferred digital communication platform. Many companies have multiple collaboration Tools to choose from including, Teams, Slack, or even WhatsApp.
Engage in Company-Wide Challenges
Most companies know how much remote working can affect the productivity of their workers.
So, the idea of creating company-wide challenges is already popular. You won’t struggle to do this.
Be sure you take advantage of this opportunity to overcome loneliness. You can try out diet or workout challenges.
Many companies have started sponsoring local events in areas where their coworkers live. This has connected large companies as they all run a 5K race in their area or something of the like.
Get engaged in any company-wide challenge that can get people excited and break up the day. Your team will feel re-energized and connected with their friends while working.
Use Many Collaboration Tools
Since no collaboration tool is perfect, you are likely to miss a lot if you depend too much on a single tool.
We have a rich assortment of productivity and communication tools at our disposal. So, you need not worry if everyone in your team works from home.
We talked about using a tool like Teams. However, you can get much more benefits if you allow your team to collaborate on Slack, RingCentral, and other similar tools. Remember to use the chat features as much as you can. This feature allows users to share a lot of ideas.
We recommend you should supplement text-based chats with video calls.
It would be best if you didn’t forget to use video whenever you’re holding virtual meetings. Are at least three people present in the meeting? This advice will help you to fix lots of issues.
When you see the people you’re talking with as you engage in these meetings, you’ll pick up a lot. So, it is much easier to get everyone on the same page.
In short, when you use multiple communication tools, you increase your chances of engaging in honest and meaningful conversations. That’s what you and your colleagues need to feel connected and valued.
Continuing to communicate is an important skill that you need to learn to stay connected. Once you gain it, your colleagues will learn from you and do the same.
Remember that knowledge hardly gets to everyone in a remote working environment in the same way as it does in the office. So, if you assume your colleagues know something that you think, you can make an enormous blunder.
What’s the solution? Share everything that you want your colleagues to know. Repeat yourself as many times as possible. If you want to know anything, ask them for it.
Try to change how your team communicates and collaborates as you do all this. Ensure you are ready to learn by making mistakes. Your behavior could encourage them to learn to do the same.
Incorporate Small Talk
In most face-to-face meetings, most people often incorporate light talk into their conversations. Once you meet your workmate or friend, you take some time chatting about the weekend or your children before getting into the day’s business.
Most people often skip this step in virtual meetings. They choose to go directly into formal issues. Unfortunately, this method makes people feel disconnected. Nothing can change that other than integrating personal communication that shows you are humane and ready to connect.
If you communicate with clarity and positivity, the simple act of incorporating light conversation will eventually lead to honest relationships that you can rely on whenever you feel disconnected. I have seen Teams that take the first 10 minutes of meetings to solely talk about non-work. Sometimes it seems hard to fit in but it is worth it.
Make Realistic After-Work Socializing Plans
It would be best to socialize with your colleagues as you work from home or in your private office. But there is no guarantee everyone can always get adequate time for this.
If you can’t socialize during the regular working hours for any reason, don’t worry. You don’t have a reason to do so. Make practical after-work socializing plans. Choose a convenient time of the week and invite your interested friends and family members to join you.
With these plans, you’ll have reliable accountability partners who can stop you from working at the end of your workday and give you a reason to see life from an interesting perspective. This method can help you if your office is in your home.
The Bottom Line
We’ve seen how feeling disconnected can hinder the benefits of working remotely. Use the tips we’ve seen here to create an environment where you and your teammates can stay connected while working from your home or private office. Once you’ve found what works best for you, remain consistent and have a good time as you watch your productivity increase.