With remote work becoming more common across organizations, this means more flexibility for employees, broader access to talent, and much more. However, remote work does present some challenges, such as the loss of or decreased face-to-face interaction with fellow colleagues. In a remote environment, building relationships can sometimes take longer when you don’t have consistent in-person interactions.
It’s important to have an intentional focus on cultivating and maintaining those relationships.
1. Recognize accomplishments and celebrate successes
Everyone loves to get a compliment—it shows that we’re valued and appreciated. This extends beyond the professional setting.
Maybe one of your teammates completed a race they were training for, or they achieved a major milestone they set for themselves in their personal life. Validating the achievement and successes of others also has a positive impact on you and your mental health.
2. Set up time just to catch up
Taking time to sit down and have a conversation with someone seems like a thing of the past in the digital age, and it’s reinforced by the current pandemic.
Set up regular one-on-one conversations with others with the caveat that you can’t talk about work. Rather, focus on getting to know one another or have an open dialogue about a topic where you can learn from each other.
This “water cooler” conversation can be hugely impactful in building rapport and relationships. While it can feel like you’re wasting time at work, it's incredibly valuable in building a foundation for success.
3. Propose and plan team bonding ideas
This doesn’t have to be—and shouldn’t be—a huge time commitment.
Something as simple as a team happy hour is a great way to get together with colleagues and converse about life outside of work. Meet at the park for lunch or a yoga session, or take it a step further and do a gift exchange with one another during the holiday season or on a random Tuesday to boost morale.
These casual get-togethers can be significant in building and maintaining relationships while positively contributing to the broader team and company culture.
4. Drop a quick note or message, just because
Our CPO, Jeff Diana, is notorious for this. We don’t have a lot of individual time with him but he always sends us a quick message in Slack to kick off and close out the week. There is no expectation to respond, but it’s a quick way for us to know that he’s thinking about us and supports us.
I have found myself that a random “Hope you have a good week and let me know if I can help you in any way!” message has helped open the door for my teammates to ask for help or reach out to discuss a challenge they may be experiencing. It’s nice to feel supported especially when you can’t interact face-to-face.