4 ways to make strong connections working from home
With the loss of water-cooler chats and office banter, finding new ways of staying connected to your team members may be more important than ever.
Building strong relationships in an organisation of any size helps to develop the company culture and keeps team members engaged and happy in their roles. Working relationships are essential to improving collaboration and staff morale which ultimately has far-reaching benefits for businesses. So, what exactly could you be doing to build strong connections while working from a remote location and boost your career development in the process?
1. Communication is key
Working from home doesn’t have to be isolating – in fact, it could truly be a win-win situation wherein collaboration increases, and workplace morale goes up. However, there’s one key factor that’s necessary for that to happen: communication.
There can be something romantic around the idea of working by yourself. The idea that you might be so much more productive without meetings, not having to be seen and not being available for any desk-side drop-ins. However, in order to build trust and establish strong working relationships, it’s important that there’s some intention to your everyday interactions and that you practice crystal clear communication.
- If you want to establish rapport with someone you work with, try to interact with them every day on a personal level, and don’t just talk about work.
- Listen without interrupting or sharing your own stories and always remember to be an active listener; smile, nod and ask open-ended questions.
- Make sure to have your camera on when on a video conference for face-to-face time. Communication not only lies in what you say but in your facial expressions and body language as well! Make sure you have a suitable background or have the background on ‘fade’.
- Practice overcommunicating with your manager so that there’s a mutual understanding of what your priorities are and what you’re working on and be vocal about your achievements!
- Make sure to let your team know when you’re available and go the extra mile to check in with different people daily.
Doing these things will demonstrate full transparency and increase your rapport with the people you work with.
2. Add value
While working from home, you may find you have reduced your commute time and therefore have more time available to learn more about the company you work for or to come up with new ideas or ways of working.
- People like people who take initiative and are helpful. So, if you establish yourself as someone who’s always willing to put your hand up and go the extra mile, automatically you’ll endear yourself to people. The best part? You can do that all in the comfort of your PJs in your own home.
- Volunteer to run social activities and jump on projects if you have the capacity. This will help to increase your connections across the company and will help you to build strong relationships with cross-functional teams!
3. Stay up to date with technology
With the latest advances in technology, communication and video conferencing has never been easier. Tools like Slack, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Houseparty, and Microsoft Teams make it easy to develop strong connections with your colleagues and have some fun.
- Find out what tools your workplace is using and stay up to date with the latest features. The technology also allows for fun opportunities, from using ‘like’ buttons in instant messaging to show you appreciate what your colleagues have shared, to using fun GIFs and sharing memes to add some personality to chat conversations, which may help create a closer-knit team and prevent isolation.
4. Have fun
The strongest connections are built organically by having fun and letting people get to know the real you. With a little creativity and effort (and a willingness to think outside of the box) there are many ways to interject some fun into your working from home days.
- One fun activity your team can partake in is a Funny Hat Friday. Create a meeting where everyone must come wearing the quirkiest, most unusual hat they can find – no holding back! To make things even more interesting you could nominate a winner and include prizes.
- Another fun team building activity working from home is team trivia. Gather some quirky and interesting facts about your teammates and set up an online team trivia game using Kahoot. No doubt you’ll discover a surprising fact about one of your fellow employees!
- Virtual team lunches are a great way to connect; everyone must make their favourite lunch and play a game to ‘guess the dish’.
- No more dressing in sweats/PJs – ‘Formal Fridays’ is a game where everyone must come dressed to impress.
- Meet the pets! Pet introductions are a fun way for everyone to interact with your furry friends. At the start of a meeting, everyone has 2 minutes to introduce their pets on video.
- Share the good news! Encourage people to submit a good news story or a win for the week. This doesn’t have to be work-related, it could be something positive to share with your team to lift the morale.
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