Working from home isn’t without its disadvantages. One of the experiences we miss out on is interacting with our colleagues to build better relationships at work.
When you’re connected with your teammates, you communicate better. In turn, this makes it easier to solve problems at work. You’ll also enjoy your job more because you have relationships at work that are positive and lively.
Let’s look at how you can connect with your coworkers remotely. The practical tips laid out here will help you engage with coworkers in a meaningful way that will improve your work life.
Hold Virtual Retreats
It is important for companies to bring their employees together for non-work related meetups at least once a year. You can also do this online with the help of some planning and the use of the right conferencing tools.
Make sure you pick a time and day that is convenient for people in different time zones. And send out a memo or notification about the retreat day at least a few weeks in advance. This gives everyone a chance to catch up on work and stay free during the retreat.
You also need to create an agenda that engages people and involves everyone. You’ll get great ideas from your coworkers on games to play and things to do.
There are several things you need to do to prepare for the day: create an event on your calendar and share it, create quizzes, find screen sharing software and more to help everybody be part of the activities. An online Retreat can be fun and help people learn more about each other even if they cannot meet in real life.
Create breakout rooms
Zoom has an interesting feature called Breakout Rooms. if you have a large number of people in your organization then using a Breakout Room can help them get to know each other in a more intimate way.
Hold a breakout heating once a month or once in a quarter and try to get as many people to participate as possible. Use the breakout feature and have peoples form into random groups of four or five.
Interacting with each other in smaller groups makes it easier for people to speak up. You can also create some questions in advance for people to answer in the Breakout Room meeting. In this way, people in different departments who might never otherwise interact can learn more about each other.
Create a family channel
If you use Slack as your messaging platform, then make sure you create a casual channel for conversations to take place. Creating a family channel on Slack can provide people with an area to discuss appropriate personal topics like pets, hobbies and other things.
Make sure you participate and respond to people’s posts and comments. Pictures, gifs, memes, and videos are always more engaging, so, make it a practice to use them to add life to your casual conversations.
A simple step like this will help people feel more connected and also enjoy their work life.
Ask weekly questions
To get conversations going in your Slack family channel, you can create a weekly question or post topics that people can discuss.
Easy questions like ‘What’s is your favorite ice cream flavor?’ can lead to unexpected and interesting discussions that reveal more about one’s interests and hobbies.
Team members may find persons with similar interests and develop a deeper connection with them through such conversations.
Get discussions going by making weekly questions a regular part of your internal communication strategy and to make your workplace vibrant.
Create a ‘get to know your team’ post
Another format that you can use is to create a weekly or monthly internal blog post where you feature one employee.
Ask people to volunteer to be part of this. You can create a questionnaire or form and ask people to fill it up. These questions can be about their interests, favourite places to travel, or anything else that helps us know more about them. Remember to include pictures as well.
Share this blog post on your Slack family channel for people and get conversations rolling.
The steps laid out here can form part of a long-term internal communication strategy. As you keep using these methods people will learn more about each other and this can help develop connections between people.
In time and with some momentum, you can create a friendly work environment even when people are working from home.