How to form relationships with colleagues when you work from home

AbbyGraduates, On Placement

Working remotely certainly has it perks; the commute is very short, you have easy access to the fridge, and you can probably get away with a more relaxed dress code.

But that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and puppies. If you started your job in the pandemic, it might be that you’ve not actually met a lot of the people you work with, and this can be tough. You might feel isolated, especially if you don’t have regular interaction with your team mates throughout the week.

Today, we’re sharing some tips on how to form relationships with colleagues when you work from home.

Schedule video catch-ups
It’s much easier to build relationships face-to-face than it is by email. That’s not to say you should book a meeting every time you need a quick question answering, but making sure you incorporate some video contact into your communication will make a big difference. And it doesn’t need to be an all-singing, all-dancing meeting, you’ll notice a difference after just a quick ten-minute chat! Be sure to schedule some face-to-face catch-ups on whichever online platform your organisation uses.

Turn your camera on in meetings
The human touch is definitely lost in meetings where you don’t have your cameras on. Yes, you might be wearing something you wouldn’t usually wear to work, yes your hair might be well overdue a cut, and yes you might feel awkward about it at first. It’s worth it though – you’ll definitely feel more connected if you can see each other’s faces.

Get involved in virtual events
The world went into lockdown and the human race responded with a whole host of ways to connect virtually. Here are just a few ideas for things you could do with your team:

  • Virtual escape room
  • Team quiz – maybe you could take it in turns and have different themed-weeks
  • Virtual cook-along. Choose a recipe, turn your cameras on, and get cooking!

Communicate regularly
It can be easy to feel like you’re on your own when you work from home, but it doesn’t need to be like that. Keep in touch with your colleagues, even if it’s just to ask someone for their opinion on something, or have a quick five-minute brainstorm. You can also keep your line manager in the loop with how you’re getting on with your projects or tasks. If you’ve not spoken to your manager for a while, drop them an email and ask to schedule in a catch-up meeting so that you can update them on your work, and chat about how things are going.  

Check in
There’s a lot of stress and anxiety resulting from the pandemic. If you feel able, check in on a colleague. Listen to how they’re doing and chat to them about how they’re feeling. It shows that you care, and it’ll help them to know that they can turn to you if they need some support. And hopefully, they’ll be there to support you if you need it, too.

Tell someone how you’re feeling
If you’re feeling isolated while you’re working from home, it’s really important that you speak to someone about it. It might be that your manager has no idea that you feel like that, so they don’t know to help you. Explain how you feel, and see if there’s anything they can suggest that would help you to feel included. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your manager, have a chat with one of your other colleagues.

Ask questions
When you’re working remotely, you miss out on office small talk by the kettle. You won’t know that Fatima’s been binge-watching The Flight Attendant, or that Andy’s bought a pizza oven. Take an interest in people’s lives to strengthen your working relationships. It can be as simple as asking someone how their weekend was, how their day is going, or if they’ve watched anything good on Netflix lately.

Take part in contests, or organise one yourself!
Contests are a fun way for you and your colleagues to keep in touch while working remotely. We’re thinking: bake off, ugly Christmas jumpers, best Halloween costume, and online gaming nights.

Written by Abby Sweeting, Careers and Placements

Photo by Beci Harmony on Unsplash