Remember the hallway chats, conversations by the proverbial water cooler, and informal office drop-ins of the pre-quarantine life? Good times.
Those little moments with your team catching up after the weekend or sharing the latest about our kids are incredibly important for building relationships and maintaining a strong company culture. Working remotely can make those spontaneous check-ins challenging.
Fostering a virtual office-like environment to keep each other engaged not only in work, but in meaningful, human-to-human connections is imperative during this massive remote work experiment. Here are a couple suggestions for continuing the office culture:
1. Randomly reach-out to your teammates, lunch buddies, and someone new. Use Teams chat, text, or even call them… I know, crazy, the telephone. The randomness is exactly what happens in an office environment and it’s what keeps our workdays dynamic. I like the chat/text option since its asynchronous considering that my co-worker’s life at that moment might be involved with providing homeschool tech support for the kids or a client call.
2. Happy hours. You’ve likely seen the Zoom screenshots of your friends’ workplace virtual happy hours and if you haven’t hosted one yet, do it. There are awkward silences and hilarious moments as people figure out how to use Zoom but seeing everyone at once is incredibly powerful.
3. Video chat when possible. As mentioned in number 2, seeing each other is important. It helps ward off feelings of isolation and keeps your team members real plus, it’s fun to see their environment and talk about the merits of beige vs other paint colors for walls.
4. Culture. Every work environment has traditions that are unique to their company culture. Make an effort to keep those in place while working from home and be open to new traditions developing. For example, we started “Meme Monday” and it’s hilarious.
There is a very good possibility that many of us will continue to work from home to some degree long after being quarantined therefore, developing good interpersonal digital habits will position you for success in the post-Covid era.
Start now: I challenge you to strike up a couple of random chats this week: members of your team, lunch buddies, and someone new.