Tips for connecting with colleagues if you're a remote worker
There are many perks to being a remote worker. You don’t have to spend hours in traffic each week, you can listen to your favorite music while working, and you can even swap your business casual attire for jeans and a t-shirt if you like.
But there’s also one major downside: It can be lonely and make you feel isolated from your team at the office. But here’s the good news: There are ways you can connect with your colleagues — even if they’re on the opposite coast. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Be responsive. As Robin Madelli points out in her FlexJobs article “How Remote Workers Can Stay Connected With Their Team,” when you respond quickly to your colleagues, you build a stronger bond and help them perceive you as a team player who does what it takes to get the job done.
- Use your company’s collaboration tool. If your company uses a collaboration tool, use its message boards or chat to connect with colleagues. Since you can’t participate in the water cooler or coffee break discussions, this is a good way to communicate about professional matters online.
- Be present for important meetings and events. In her article “How to Overcome the Challenges of Telecommuting” for The Balance Careers, Katherine Lewis recommends attending important meetings or events in person if possible. If this isn’t possible, ask your supervisor if there’s a way for you to participate virtually. This will keep you up to date with developments at the office; plus, it will help you network.
- Connect via Skype. Connecting with colleagues via Skype is a great way to build working relationships. If you have the Skype app on your phone, you can even have a walking meeting together, which can result in an energizing, creative and more personal meeting, according to Martha C. White’s article “5 Brilliant Ways to Stay Connected if You Work From Home.”
- Start a monthly newsletter. Granted, this might take some work, but a short monthly newsletter to share news and celebrate your team’s accomplishments can help you build a more cohesive team.
- Leverage social media to your advantage. If you want to communicate with your colleagues outside of work, why not use social media? Whether it’s discussing professional matters on LinkedIn or sharing photos of your dog on Facebook, social media offers many opportunities to stay connected.
Connecting with co-workers remotely requires you to rethink how you build and maintain relationships, since you’ll have to rely mostly on technology instead of in-person interactions. Nevertheless, with just a smartphone, the right apps, and some effort, you can keep loneliness at bay while simultaneously becoming a trusted, valued member of your team.
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