How to Stay Connected When Working from Home
August 2, 2021
No doubt the past 18 months have been tough on everyone – especially those who must work from home. Staying connected to your work colleagues and friends is harder than ever - factor in zoom meetings, home offices and distractions such as pets and kids, and these challenges can be overwhelming.
Whether you’re working from home full or part-time, some challenges come with isolation from your work colleagues. Here are some ways you can stay connected while working from home.
Try to keep your day as normal as possible
One of the biggest challenges many of us have faced working from home has been the blurring of lines between ‘work’ and home. Try and keep your day as normal as possible in terms of your standard work-morning routine. The only difference is you won’t be going to work! If you usually go for a walk in the morning, make sure you’re still getting up and going for a walk before you sit down and start your day. If you usually carpool with a colleague who lives close by, why not go for a pre-work walk to mimic this commute? Adding these things can bring a sense of normality to what is currently a very unnatural situation. The Muse says “Schedule ‘coffee’ with a different team member during your former commute time each morning and take this time to catch up over the phone, video call, or even text chat. Get your team to sign up for coffee talks with each other and create a solid rotation throughout the whole office. You’ll gain social time, mentorship, different perspectives, and regain some of the spontaneous conversations that are lost in remote working.”
Communicate your non-negotiables for the day
A good thing to get into the habit of is having a quick catch up with your team every morning. Seeing your colleagues on the screen when you start your day will give you a feeling of being back in the office and greeting your team. Each person then takes the time to talk through some key points on your list for the day, including some of your bigger, non-negotiable tasks. Doing this will enable your colleagues to hold you accountable during the day to stay on track and meet the deadlines you need. It can also help to clear up any questions and start your day with a bit of human contact!
Make your meetings more engaging
Stuck in the same boring Zoom meetings day in, day out? Why not spice things up and make meetings a little more exciting! While it may not be plausible to get too crazy during client or other professional meetings, why not make weekly team catch-ups themed? Perhaps it’s crazy hair/hat day or bring your pet to work (in this case, work is the screen!) day but adding something fun can add a bit of laughter to the group and lift spirits.
Consider mandating video during meetings
Whether it’s because they don’t have makeup on, have just rolled out of bed, or simply don’t like being on camera, some people don’t enjoy others seeing them on video calls. No matter the reason, it’s important to have a clear company policy on whether having video turned on is mandatory or not. Without the face-to-face connection that we have onsite, non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and body language can get missed if someone has their camera switched off. If it’s becoming an issue, gently approach the person to see whether there’s a reason they don’t have the camera switched on – they might not know how!
Download Slack (or similar)
Not being in the office or worksite means you can’t just lean over to your colleague and ask them a question about a piece of work you’re doing. Instead of sending email after email to your team, invest in an instant messaging service such as Slack. This program allows teams to set up channels, as well as chat in different groups or one-on-one. While this program is great for asking quick questions that don’t necessarily solicit an email, it’s also great for general office chit chat throughout the day to help your team stay connected.
Check in with your team
If they discuss it or not, working from home is hard on just about everyone – including your colleagues. Make sure you’re taking the time to reach out individually and ask if they’re ok. They might not want to talk about it, or they might be fine, but knowing they have someone there who they can lean on might be just what they need right now. Forbes adds, “Think about what it might be like to sprinkle some 15-minute check-in calls across your calendar. These calls don't need to have an agenda but can help people feel less isolated and more in touch, as they give the opportunity to connect in the same way you might if you asked someone to join you on a coffee run.”
Group video chat throughout the day
This suggestion might not be for everyone but consider staying on video chat for the whole day. It sounds quite confronting saying it like that, but when you think about it, it’s no different from how you would be if you were in the office with everyone in person. Believe it or not, just hearing someone nearby typing away and working diligently can be a huge boost for mood and morale (not to mention productivity) and is part of the reason why co-working spaces are so popular. Whether it’s the whole team or just one other person, why not give it a try?
Speak up if you’re struggling
Working from home is hard and if done for a long period, it can be quite isolating. If you’re struggling with some of these feelings, it’s important to speak up and reach out to those around you. Chances are, they’re probably feeling some of the same feelings you are about working from home. Opening this dialogue helps you to stay connected to those around you when you can’t be there in person.
Staying connected with your friends and colleagues when working from home can be difficult. With such uncertain times that we’re facing right now, it’s important to be versatile, open to change and willing to reach out to our peers who might be struggling. While you’re working from home, why not refresh your working from home uniform with some pieces from Biz Collection Canada.