In a shared workplace, relationships evolve naturally. You chat before a meeting starts, bump into people in the hall, and before you know it, you’re taking lunch with the same group of friends every day. You might get to know executives you wouldn’t usually see because you frequently end up in the same elevator or refill your coffee at the same time. Without these sorts of casual encounters that can’t really be duplicated in a remote work environment, it takes a lot more effort to nurture those friendly and professional relationships.
Tips For Managing Work Relationships in a Virtual Environment
Do Work Relationships Even Matter? How Can You Build And Maintain Relationships In A Virtual Work World?
If you’re working from home, should you just focus on productivity and appreciate the lack of distractions? Research indicates working relationships do matter. According to Gallup, employees who indicate they have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be more engaged, productive and report a higher sense of wellbeing.
Proactivity is an essential factor in effective work relationships. Put meetings and conversations in your planner or set an alarm. Most importantly, make it a priority, or it won’t happen. It’s natural to just plow through your work to get it done rather than talking to coworkers when they are not right in front of you to remind you you’re neglecting your professional relationships. It can be harder to ask for help when you have to pick up the phone or schedule a meeting rather than just stopping by their desk.
1. Stay organized.
If you are responsible for your own schedule, be sure you are tracking your progress, particularly for shared projects. Nothing puts a strain on work relationships faster than your colleagues feeling you’re not pulling your weight.
2. Meet for lunch.
If any of your coworkers live nearby, schedule coffee or lunch out of the office every now and then, It’s a nice break allowing both of you to get out of the office and nurturing relationships is always a worthwhile investment of your time.
3. Use informal chat channels.
If your company uses a platform such as chat to stay in touch, take time to engage with coworkers on it. It can be as simple as talking about pets or weekend plans or a valuable opportunity to stay on track with a shared project by sharing quick updates on your progress.
4. Cowork virtually.
If you have a project requiring intensive, uninterrupted work, consider starting a Zoom meeting where you work in sprints. Try twenty-thirty-minute intervals with five-minute breaks. Parallel working is an effective focus technique. You can’t pop open Twitter or go pick up the cat for a snuggle when you’re on camera with one or more coworkers who won’t hesitate to call you out.
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