There are so many pros when it comes to working remotely. You have the flexibility of location, and you might be able to set your own working hours, too. You no longer have to commute or pack a lunch — you might not even need to wear business casual clothing anymore.
But there is one glaring con to this type of position — you don’t get to know your coworkers very well. You certainly have to communicate and work alongside them, but you just can’t build the same bonds as you would while working in the office.
Or, can you?
There are ways to facilitate that relationship even if you’re tens of thousands of miles away from the company itself. And it’s worth the effort — having friends at work can bolster productivity and job satisfaction. You don’t want to let down your team with a lack of effort, after all.
So, here are five ways to make friends, no matter where you are working.
1. Take Advantage of Technology
You’re probably thinking, “Remote working already requires this,” and you’re right. The internet, your computer, the company VPN and more make it easy for you to work from almost any location.
But these technologies make it easier for you to get to know your coworkers on a more personal level. You’re probably already in touch with them via email and an instant messaging service, but do you ever video chat? Making face-to-face contact will make your connections all the more real, and you can feel like you’re a vital part of the team in meetings, brainstorming sessions and more if you’re participating.
2. Attend In-Person Events
One of the best ways to make work friends is to go to office events. From happy hours to family picnics to holiday parties, there’s plenty to choose from, but these gatherings present the perfect opportunity to get to know your colleagues outside of the nine to five.
You might not be able to attend everything, especially if you’re working super remotely, but even one event per year would bring you closer to the team — it’s always nice to put a face to a name or an email address.
3. Start With Small Talk
A remote position makes it simple for you to take part in work-only conversations — you’re emailing and chatting with coworkers about the tasks at hand, and that’s it. That certainly makes for productive communication, but it gives you little opportunity to get to know your team. Think about it — in the office, you’d likely start meetings with small talk before diving into your to-dos.
So, the next time you start a conversation with a colleague, ask them a few questions about how their day’s going or how their weekend was. Once you get to know each other better, your small talk will turn more involved, and you’ll feel a whole lot closer to the person on the other end of the instant message.
4. Be Honest and Aware
For any remote-working situation, you must remain as open and honest with your team as possible. Staying reliable will create that trusting bond between you and your colleagues, so always stick to deadlines, provide updates and be completely clear when you’re not going to have something in at the scheduled time.
Honesty goes hand-in-hand with awareness, which you’ll also need to succeed as a remote worker. The best example is to know when your office-working counterparts are up and at ‘em. Remote working means different time zones and, therefore, out of touch communication when their days are in high gear. Be aware of the difference and try your best to communicate within their working hours. At the very least, you should have updates waiting for them when they log on in the morning, even if you’re still asleep.
5. Grab a Coffee
Is there a new person on the team — or is that person you? In a traditional workplace, you’d have the chance to get to know everyone, and some of your new colleagues might make plans to grab a coffee, chat and learn more about who you are.
You can still plan coffee dates with your coworkers. Start with the ones with whom you work the closest — tell them to brew a cup of joe or tea, and have a more in-depth getting-to-know-you conversation. Having a hot beverage makes the whole thing feel more casual, so you’ll be able to chat like you would at an actual coffee shop. And, as you get to know each other better, you might even start setting up regular breaks to catch up and connect on a non-work-related basis.
Build Bonds Now
With those five tips in mind — and a little bit of effort on your part — it’ll be simple to build bonds with your team at work, no matter where they are. Subscribe to our newsletter for more tips to career success, whether you’re working from home or beyond. And keep the conversation going with friend-making tips and tricks of your own in the comments section below.
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