2020 was a year of uncertainties but one thing’s for sure, none of us could…
The pandemic sparked a global work-from-home experiment practically overnight but when lockdown was initially announced, the idea of dispersed teams was met with trepidation by many. There was a widespread concern that working from home would lead to a drop in productivity but as the weeks rolled into months, it became clear that not only could businesses operate remotely, they could do so successfully. Many have even reported increased efficiency, with less time spent in those dreaded meetings that leave you thinking ‘that could have been an email’.
Brands including Google and Twitter hit the headlines, stating that employees were invited to work from home indefinitely and the traditional corporates weren’t far behind. PwC and Slater & Gordon, among others, announced plans for office closures with remote working set to be a permanent fixture. Both bold approaches, but as businesses come to realise that employees can operate efficiently off-site, remote working is securing its place in the post-pandemic world.
With business continuity no longer such a worry and productivity levels maintained, there’s one final hurdle to overcome – staying connected. We spend more time with our colleagues than almost anyone else, so strong professional relationships are valuable. Here, we share our tips for keeping them that way.
Encourage water cooler moments
Working from home can be lonely, and it’s those quintessential ‘water cooler moments’ that people miss the most. The spontaneous, off-the-cuff chats with co-workers that form the very basis of workplace friendships.
If you use platforms such as Slack, consider designating a channel for casual conversation or setting up a WhatsApp group to encourage colleagues to check in on one another. Don’t just use Teams or Zoom for meetings, be sure to schedule in informal team breaks with no agenda and a ban on work-related chat. This promotes team bonding and it is a great way to de-stress and refresh before continuing with tasks for the rest of the day.
Everyone loves a good pat on the back and one of the major dilemmas of remote working is the lack of recognition around accomplishments. To keep up morale and motivation, it’s really important to make an effort to celebrate when things go well – whether it’s winning a tender or pitch, hitting targets or receiving glowing feedback from a client.
Arrange virtual Friday afternoon drinks and give shout outs to ensure the whole team is aware of the brilliant work that’s being done across the business. This helps colleagues feel part of a bigger picture – as well as encouraging healthy competition!
Attend virtual events or conferences
Professional development plays a major role in workplace relationships and when colleagues inspire and learn from each other, it benefits both employer and employee.
While physical events are still being postponed, buddy up with a team member and register for a virtual networking event, workshop or webinar. After the session, schedule some time to debrief, share notes and then present your learnings to the wider team. This not only creates a sense of togetherness but keeps skills polished and minds sharp.