The joy of working from home means not getting emails with the subject line: “Who took a bite of my sandwich?!” or being forced listen to Absolute Radio 80s in the office. Yet the downsides can include feeling lonely and detached from colleagues. Human connection is vital to work properly as a team and to keep morale high. (Not to mention being singled out for promotion.) Luckily, there are many easy ways to build and maintain communication – so you don’t feel like it’s just you and your laptop…!
Choose Video Over Phone Conferencing
Yes it’s tempting to stay in our joggers and not have to get dressed up for a 20-minute meeting. But 93% of our communication is non-verbal. Being able to see everyone’s faces makes all the difference when it comes to building a rapport with people. (For example, everyone waving to each other on camera is a friendly gesture and sets the tone for the conversation. Plus, feedback or constructive criticism will be better received if it’s delivered with a smile!) What’s more, people are likely to forget who’s on the call if it’s just lots of different voices – being ‘visible’ means you’re less likely to be ignored or talked over.
Schedule 1-2-1 Time With Key People in Your Team
People aren’t as easily accessible when you’re all working from home. Emails to your boss might be lost in the mountains of other messages they’re trying to wade through. And you might not know whether it’s okay to ask people for a quick chat, as you can’t see if they’re busy or not. Similarly, if you have people reporting into you directly, managing them remotely can be tricky – especially if you can’t see what they’re up to. Try to arrange weekly or daily catch ups (even if it’s just ten minutes) to discuss what everyone is working on and ask if there are any queries. It can be a lot easier than trying to send countless ad hoc messages throughout the day.
Send Your Boss an Update at The End of The Week
It might seem like an annoying piece of extra admin, but sending a quick email update on Friday afternoon to reiterate what you’ve been working on can reassure your boss that you’ve not been idling from home. It can also ensure your hard work and achievements don’t go unnoticed.
Check in On Other People
Your colleagues might be feeling just as isolated as you are, don’t forget. They might miss the daily office chit-chat of people asking them about their weekend. Using Slack to send them a private message asking how they’re doing and if they’re coping ok can make all the difference, when you can’t have a natter in person.
Schedule Virtual Happy Hour
Working from home can be isolating at the best of times, especially when you don’t have the kind of banter you’d have in the office. Scheduling a remote coffee break or happy hour via Zoom can allow everyone to get together and let off some steam, as well as enabling the team to bond and boost morale levels! Cheers!