Today’s workforce, more than ever, demands that people be self-motivated, innovative, and able to handle stress. A culture of remote work and digital collaboration has opened up new doors for people to grow in their careers.
However, the transition has also led to unforeseen challenges for those wishing to keep strong interpersonal relationships.
What is the biggest challenge of maintaining strong relationships in a remote work environment?
The first hurdle to manage is to stay connected. When you work with your colleagues in the same room, you’re able to engage with them naturally, jot down notes during meetings, and see their facial expressions as they share their opinions.
When you work remotely, you lack much of this contextual information. Therefore, building trust and rapport can be a real challenge. You might also find yourself missing out on key cultural nuances.
Finally, it can be hard to stay motivated and productive when you’re working in isolation. This is especially true if you’re a visual person who thrives on collaboration, or you come from a culture that values close friendships at work.
After all, in a remote work environment, you can’t easily strike up a conversation with your colleagues or ask for feedback from your boss. And it can be even harder to stay motivated when you cannot see the progress you’re making.
Stay in Touch With Coworkers and Friends
This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to let your communication with your colleagues slip when you’re working remotely. You don’t necessarily have to exchange long emails. However, you might consider using a messaging app that allows you to create threads.
With these tools, it’s easy to create a running conversation so you can keep your relationships alive while still maintaining your focus. You can also try to meet up with your colleagues in person.
Meetings are often cheaper to organize remotely, but you might want to consider booking a coworking space when you need to work closely with someone or your work requires a lot of visual input.
Finally, do not forget about old-fashioned phone calls and face-to-face meetings. These forms of communication are great ways to strengthen your relationships with your peers and keep in touch with your friends.
Schedule One-on-One Meetings with Your Team Members
If you’re a manager, you can make remote work less of an obstacle by scheduling one-on-one meetings with each member of your team. This allows each employee to express themself away from other workers so they can speak about workday tasks candidly and more confidently. This is especially important to do if you have workers who find it hard to intervene during a group meeting.
Use Digital Platforms to Strengthen Relationships
There are several digital platforms that can help you strengthen your relationships. For example, apps like Slack, Zoom, YouTube, and even video game chat apps, like Discord, make it easy to stay in touch with your team members.
You can also use apps like Doodle and Calendly to find times to meet up in person with your colleagues. And if you find yourself missing the rewards of making new friends, apps like Bumble and Tinder are good ways to find new people, outside of work, to spend time with and develop a rapport.
Seek Networking Opportunities
Professional networking events are a great way to meet new people in your industry. Find these gatherings online through websites like Meetup. If you don’t have access to networking events, you can also try to find people to connect with online. Try joining an online forum in your industry, or set up group discussions with like-minded people on platforms like Slack or Facebook.
You can also try to reach out to people you admire, even if you don’t know them personally. If you have a question about their work or want to know about a new development in your field, you might try contacting them at their email.
As the workforce becomes more and more remote, it’s important to remember that strong relationships are the backbone of any successful team. By staying in touch with your colleagues, using digital platforms to strengthen your relationships, and finding new opportunities to meet people, you’ll have what it takes to interact successfully.
Great Northern Helps Injured Workers Recover
Great Northern Therapy Associates is your partner who can provide counseling services to injured workers. We have therapists throughout many states who can meet in person and via remote telehealth sessions to work with injured workers and develop an individualized plan to help them adjust and successfully return to work.
We have partnered with and provided mental health support to workers at some of the largest companies in the world. But, at our core, we are still “people taking care of people,” one person at a time. Contact us today by filling out a form (below), submitting a referral, or calling us at the number below.