With a higher proportion of the workforce working from home, connecting with colleagues can be a more difficult task these days. As such, establishing great workplace connections, something that can usually be cultivated around the watercooler, at happy hour, or through a passing high five in the hallway, requires some different strategies.
If you’re restricted to interacting using online tools like Zoom and Slack for your conversations with teammates and colleagues, make sure you use them to your full advantage. Most tools can be (appropriately) used for fun as well as work, and they can facilitate great ways to keep spirits up and connections high. If you’re using Slack and don’t know about their gif functionality, it’s going to be a game changer in how you express yourself online. Additionally, there are integrations available where you can offer kudos, praise or high fives to coworkers for their efforts, which can be a great way to publicly acknowledge someone for their successes.
Zoom and other video chatting tools can be a great alternative to regular phone calls, so you get to see another human face besides your own in the mirror, and can be used for quick coffee catch ups as well as formal meetings. If there’s a colleague who you regularly grab coffee with, schedule a daily 10 minute zoom meeting to ‘get coffee’ virtually, even if it’s just from your kitchen.
In addition to the fun uses, make sure you’re using online collaboration tools to stay on the same page as others you’re working with. Project management tools can replace whiteboards and brainstorming meetings, and you can store everything online where everyone can access things like recruitment timelines, application statuses, or client communications and follow ups. By having everything in one place, and having the ability to tag coworkers on certain tasks or conversations, you can easily replicate the in-office processes and teamwork you’re used to.
We can’t express enough how crucial effective communication throughout remote working periods is to success. Since you’re no longer in the same office or conference room as everyone, a conversation with two or three people isn’t overheard by everyone in the company and thus they’re kept in the loop by default; you have to make a point to ensure the important notes are communicated to everyone purposefully. Think carefully about who should be in which meetings and ensure that recaps and minutes are distributed and available to everyone the information is relevant to.