Socializing with teammates while working from home: yes, it’s possible

Hanging out and connecting with teammates doesn’t have to stop when you're working remotely. Here are four ways to stay social virtually.

April 27, 2020
Angelique Parungao

For many people, your workplace plays a significant role in your social life. In fact, a survey we conducted with 1,000 employees found that workplace friendships were considered more valuable to employees than a pay rise. This reaps many benefits from the company’s standpoint as well: you’re more likely to be engaged, productive and happy as an employee when surrounded by meaningful workplace relationships.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that isolation comes up as a key concern when people discuss the option of working remotely. Without team lunches, water cooler chats and daily meetings, what does this mean for workplace friendships? Will work become lonelier than ever? If you’re asking yourself these questions, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The good news is, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be the case.

With the right tool in place, working remotely doesn’t need to feel so remote after all. Here are a few ways to get started:

Schedule plenty of calls and turn on video

Working from home can sometimes mean not interacting with anyone in person for the entire day. Because of that, it’s crucial to maintain that human touch when conversing with your teammates—if possible, opt for a voice or video call to discuss that project rather than chatting through messages. Something as simple as hearing your teammate’s laughter and seeing their reactions in real-time can bridge that distance instantly.

Take virtual lunch breaks together

Lunch breaks don’t need to be boring just because you’re working remotely. Keep up with those regular lunch chats by scheduling a lunch date with a colleague, or even your whole team, where you can enjoy a meal together over a video conference call. Catching up on your favourite TV shows or what you did over the weekend while eating your food can be just as fun when done virtually.

Make room for casual chats

Without a physical space to hang out, such as the office pantry or break room, you might find that conversations with your colleagues start becoming purely about work. It’s easy to overlook the morning catch ups and small talk you’d usually be having throughout the day when you’re apart. Try starting your conversations with generic chit chat before diving into the topic — ask them about their day, send them funny videos and stickers, or even share a cool song to listen to while working. These non-transactional and non-work chats can go a long way in staying connected with each other.

Replicate social networking elements

Look for digital workplace tools that enable you to create the community forums, profiles, group chats and virtual interactions that come with commercial social networking platforms. Whether used for work-focused or more casual purposes, these features are a great way to replicate the interactive elements of an office through virtual means, making it easier than ever to maintain that sense of community while apart.

Celebrate each other’s milestones

Congratulating teammates on new achievements, birthdays or work anniversaries doesn’t have to be limited to the office space. By retaining a culture of positivity and recognition, you’ll strengthen that team connection even further despite doing it through a screen. Here, customized stickers can be a great tool to easily acknowledge your colleague’s important milestone and make them feel recognized in a fun and personal way.

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