Remote work definitely has its perks: casual dress pretty much every day, the ability to take a breather and walk away from your computer for a few moments, and no commute! But with those perks, there are also some things that make remote work difficult, such as being….well, remote.
In the beginning, working remotely is great, and usually a necessary environment to get away from things that cause us stress, whether it be a constant physical presence, or the noise that can make it difficult to stay focused. However, after some time, being remote can cause other mental and emotional issues, such as loneliness, or even depression.
We are sentient beings that need human contact. Being isolated for the majority of the day can really take a toll on that necessity. Having pets will help some, but as we all know, eventually we need someone to answer our questions with words!
There is also the issue of feeling lonely and not able to connect to the very teammates we’re meeting with throughout the day. It’s necessary to feel like we’re really a part of the team, and not just on the outside looking in.
Bonding with those you spend so much time with is important, and can really affect your productivity and well being. Well, how can you bond with someone when you’re so far away? We’ve got tips for you!
Here are our 5 Ways to Bond with your Remote Work Team!
- Arrive to Meetings early. It’s not always possible, and you need to make sure you allot time for bathroom breaks and grabbing a cup of water (or, let’s be honest, to just sit in silence for five minutes), but arriving at your meetings early is a great way to bond in small doses. Fill those few minutes with genuine chats with your coworkers. Ask them about their weekend, if they have anything fun they’re up to, or about a particular project. Once people know you care, they find it easier to open up a bit. This is a great way to discover little tidbits about them, and share pieces of your life as well. Before you know it, you’ve both identified a shared love of reading, bad television, or tea, and you have little facts to continue to inquire about as you get to know them better.
- Happy Hour. So, how do you hang out when you can’t meet physically? A “happy hour” video call! This has become all the rage lately, as teams are setting up an hour one afternoon a week to have a “happy hour”. We do recommend this with a bit of caution – only consume alcohol if you’ve gotten the official “ok” in writing from management, make sure it is after working hours, and never ever (!!) pressure another employee to drink. Or, you could opt to leave alcohol out of the equation and still meet, making it an event around snacks and other beverages. Heck, add a game or fun quiz in the mix. The point is to socialize casually with a bit of food, music, and a good time.
- On-Site events. While not always feasible, if you are able, meet on-site every so often. This could be a quarterly event if you’re close enough, or even once a year. Taking time to sit down at a restaurant and enjoy each others’ company in a casual, non-work environment is nice. Not only that, but being in the office when it is time to work can help you bond over the proximity to one another and shared space. You’ll find yourself interacting in more meaningful ways, and it’s a great way to bond, indeed.
- Non-Work Communication channel. If you have a general work chat environment, make sure there is a group or channel for non-work topics and conversations. It can be a joke of the day, or cute animal videos throughout the week. Make sure to keep sensitive topics at bay, as you don’t want another avenue for stress, or to make others uncomfortable (since that is the opposite of bonding!). Keep it light, and make sure your team is invited and encouraged to share.
- Use Face to Face as much as possible. Even though you’re remote, you can still have video calls quite often. Make sure to turn your camera on, and be visible during your time together. It shows your team that you’re invested, and present. Being involved lets them know you’re not playing a game on your phone while the rest of the team is working through the meeting. If you have concerns about what others can see, many video apps have ways to minimize your background, so you can protect your privacy, or hide that pile of clothes in the corner!
Don’t let working remotely make you feel disconnected and invisible. Make sure you speak up to your manager if you’re feeling this way, and even suggest these tips before it gets to that point!
Who knows, you may just be the hero of the team for introducing everyone to “funny Fridays”!