Interacting with your peers is crucial for long-term happiness and success. However, if you or your colleagues work in different buildings — or different states — it can be difficult to find the right way to connect with them.
So what are some good ways to reach out? To find out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
What is one healthy way to connect with your peers or team members, especially if many of them work remotely?
Here’s what they recommend:
1. Start or Join a Book Club
I have a couple of book clubs that I am a part of and it lets us connect over life and books. It is great for accountability and for finding a different perspective on business books you normally wouldn’t see just reading it yourself. It’s amazing how many different ways people can interpret different personal development or business books.
2. Create Custom Chat Channels
Many businesses, including our own, decided to create custom chat channels on Slack for our employees. We have different categories based on diet and lifestyle, as well as entertainment. I think that this method helps keep employees from all over the world connected, which helps forge friendships and strong partnerships in the virtual office.
3. Reach Out One-on-One
If you’re not comfortable making conversation in a group chat, you can reach out to individuals in your team. Strike up a casual conversation by talking about something at work and then you can move to other topics. By reaching out to individual team members from time to time, you’ll build a connection no matter where you’re located.
4. Follow Each Other on Social Media
If you want to connect with your peers who work remotely, consider following them on social media. By connecting with each other on social media, you both can learn a bit more about the person behind the employee. Instead of bonding over professional matters at work, on social media, you can bond more like friends.
5. Design a Company Map
Our company created a map where employees can mark their locations. Anyone can visit the map at any time to see where their colleagues work around the world and, hopefully, start a conversation. It’s a great way to bring people together despite thousands of miles of distance.
6. Find Common Ground
We spend too much time focusing on the things that divide us instead of the things that bring us together. If you want to build a healthy connection with your peers, ask about their interests, hobbies, or work habits and converse about the things you both have in common. Over time, a natural friendship will form based on these common threads.
7. Ask About Personal Lives During Work Calls
We had our team start weekly calls with one thing that went well at work and one thing from their personal lives before getting to the actual agenda. This allowed people to connect much better in a remote environment as they quickly felt like they knew people better. This led to more conversations and later on, more collaboration and teamwork.
8. Send Short, Personal Emails
I often schedule emails out in advance checking in with short, personalized questions about the things people care about. I might ask a colleague about their family or a friend about their fishing trip. I often schedule these one-sentence emails out weeks in advance. In an hour-long session, you can easily schedule 30 critical messages to keep your closest connections active and engaged.
9. Engage and Send DMs on Social
Social media is definitely the way to go if you are trying to connect with your peers. Staying in touch with what they are currently doing and where they went can make everything relatable. It is definitely a conversation starter. Liking, commenting and sending them direct messages can go a long way. This will not only show support but also will build a good relationship further.
10. Host Video Calls
Host video calls with any remote employee. Instead of sending emails back and forth or hopping on a phone, go the extra step and speak as face-to-face as possible. This eliminates trouble with all that unspoken communication that is often missed and creates more personal connections. Video gives you the chance to create an image in your mind of who these people are that goes beyond a username or email address.
11. Discuss Your Interests Outside of Work
If you’re working with people, you already connect with them via work projects. To connect more deeply, find a common interest you can talk about, whether on chat channels, phone, email or social media. This can be almost anything such as music, sports, fitness or any hobby you share. Discussing non-work topics lets you get to know people and see them as more than just employees or co-workers.
12. Acknowledge Their Contributions and Express Gratitude During Individual Calls
Our team has remote employees all around the world. Due to the time difference, it’s not always possible to gather everyone in a group chat. What I like to do is checking in with our remote folks via individual video meetings. It helps us build stronger personal and professional bonds. I also get the chance to acknowledge their contribution and express my gratitude, which I think is important.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.