Tips for Feeling Connected When Working Remotely
In the wake of the Covid pandemic, many employers continue to offer remote and hybrid work arrangements. We’re also learning that job seekers really want remote and flexible work to be permanent options, so employers must consider these as potential employee offerings for the foreseeable future.
While remote and flexible work have many benefits, setting boundaries and still feeling connected to colleagues are valid concerns. What can you do to ensure that you are putting the right foot forward in your career when working in a remote or hybrid environment? Here are some tips:
Be clear about your availability.
Keep your teammates informed of your work needs and any issues that may come up for you. Let people know when you are available through shared office calendaring apps and systems and keep people posted on any changes. It’s also important to establish boundaries around personal obligations, and evenings and weekends, when possible.
Connect with your teammates informally.
Without constant proximity of physical offices and chance meetings, it can be hard to maintain a personal connection with teammates or people who may not be currently staffed on a project with you. Build time into your meetings or connect in informal chat groups on platforms like Slack to learn about your coworkers and what they are doing when not working.
Find out preferred communication platforms.
While you may not be able to accommodate everyone’s needs, it is helpful to have a sense of communication preferences, especially as they relate to goals and tasks like brainstorming or sharing feedback. As a consultant working with different clients remotely, I connect with them via platforms like Slack, as well as over email, Zoom, or phone.
Be there when you say you’ll be there.
Be present during hours when your employer expects you to be available. If something comes up at the last minute, communicate that to your team. Also, if you know you are most productive outside of regular work hours, talk with your employer about that.
Create a good routine.
On your work-at-home days, while it may be possible to work for 8 hours or more at a time, over the long term, it is not the best approach for health and even productivity. Extended work patterns without breaks can lead to burnout and other health issues. Build breaks into your day. Take walks. Stretch. Remember, you don’t HAVE to eat at your desk.
Schedule one-on-one meetings.
Touch base regularly with colleagues, supervisors, and/or direct reports to ensure that you are on the same page on shared projects. Also, one-on-ones provide a measure of intimacy that can create some space for communication that group meetings can lack.
Roll with the remote connectivity punches.
Connection issues with Zoom or other platforms are always a possibility when working remotely. Be knowledgeable and comfortable with moving over to another platform, like Google Meet, or even jumping on your cellphone.
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About the Author: Shirley Huey, J.D., is a consultant providing research, writing, and strategic development assistance to organizational clients. Her experience includes service on academic and professional hiring, diversity, and professional development committees as well as coaching peers and mentees. She is also a freelance writer, with a focus on her passions: food and culture.