5 Tips to Develop Relationships with Work From Home Colleagues
Working from home isn’t any different compared to working in an office especially when it comes to communicating with other employees. Building professional relationships is still an essential part of remote working and no person can achieve success if he isolates himself from everyone in the company. Whether you’re struggling or looking for ways to develop positive relationships with fellow remote colleagues, here are five tips to help you out:
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1. Keep in touch
You’ll never establish any form of relationship if you don’t even engage in conversations in the first place. But keeping in touch also doesn’t have to mean messaging your coworkers throughout the day. This will only be counterproductive and you’ll only be interrupting their work. Even if they’re in the mood to talk, they may not do so especially when they’re faced with multiple tasks to accomplish.
In this case, initiate a conversation if you have concerns about your work or during non-peak hours when most people aren’t working on urgent tasks. Remember that conversations shouldn’t just be about work as you can talk about anything. You may be sharing the same hobby or interest with your colleagues or some of you may have attended the same school at some point. By keeping in touch, you’ll be amazed how fast you can build relationships with the other people in your company.
2. Maximize video calls
The chatbox isn’t the only way to communicate with your fellow coworkers. This is where video conference platforms come in. Many consider these platforms much better compared to chats and emails, and for good reason. They aren’t only very useful when someone wants to get a point across quickly but they also prevent workers from writing very long emails which can be very tiring and stressful.
When it comes to remote work, meetings are usually accomplished through video calls especially when workers aren’t situated in the same city or country. When meetings commence, don’t just stay silent and put your microphone on mute. Be active and air out whatever you have in mind (e.g. concerns, suggestions, observations, etc.). This won’t only help you get a reaction from colleagues but also from your supervisor. This also shows you are committed to your work and helping the company meet its long-term goals. Just remember to stay on-topic when the meeting has a strict agenda and postpone informal conversations before or after the meeting.
3. Create an ongoing feedback loop
Feedback is very helpful for every employee. Even supervisors and managers need feedback every now and then. But feedback isn’t just limited to making employees improve their work but also helps improve communication between team members. Giving feedback is a two-way process since it involves the person giving the feedback and the person given the said feedback.
A feedback loop can also involve everyone within the team or department resulting in a more effective process where everyone can check their progress from time to time. But if employees are not comfortable with other people checking their work, the company can always revert this to confidential one-on-ones which should benefit you nonetheless. You want to show your boss you’re the right person for the job and also build meaningful relationships with them in the process. As long as you won’t get scolded every time you commit a mistake, treat every feedback as a form of constructive criticism.
4. Talk about random topics
As previously mentioned, communicating with colleagues isn’t just about talking about deadlines and the tasks you’ve worked on. Don’t be too overly serious about your job as work also pertains to getting along with colleagues. Multiple studies have shown that the more you communicate with other employees even when on a remote work basis, the less stressed you become. It also improves your social skills drastically.
Be active in your team chat from time to time and also get in touch with other team members through personal chats or video calls. With the conversations you’ll be having, they can also experience less stress since the topics being discussed are more or less random and light-hearted. Just avoid personal topics as they may not be comfortable talking about them. And also, don’t force yourself into discussing other topics that they don’t like in the first place. You’ll only be creating unnecessary conflict.
5. Meet in person
If you’re living in close proximity with your work from home coworkers, why not meet up in your free time? If you really aim on building relationships with them, nothing beats going out and enjoying each other’s company, whether it be in drinking in a bar, playing sports, going shopping, or taking a hike in the mountains, among others.
Seeing a fellow remote worker in person is just different compared to seeing them only during online meetings. And if you’ve managed to already get close with them even only online, meeting them in real life makes it all the more fun and memorable. You may not get the team together in a single place immediately, but you can schedule a date when everyone is available. The often you get to meet with your colleagues, the better your interpersonal relationships will become wherein conversations are not just limited within a computer or electronic device. Never let a long distance work setup stop you from developing relationships with your peers.
You shouldn’t be working in isolation when working remotely. Even if your remote company only employs a few people, it shouldn’t give you the excuse to stay silent and avoid employee engagement throughout the entire workweek. Remember that everyone needs some human interaction every now and then, and not doing this will only create mental problems in the long run. The five tips listed above are best practices that should help you not just develop relationships with work from home colleagues but also advance your career in the process.