7 ways to build relationships with co-workers when you work remotely

Originally posted on the Modis US website – 23 July 2019 Posted 21 September 2020

Wondering how you can cultivate relationships with coworkers when you work remote?

Want to improve your communication with your tech and engineering industry colleagues?

Working remotely can allow you to balance your personal and professional responsibilities but succeeding as a remote worker isn't a forgone conclusion.

In this article, you'll discover seven tips to help you get more out of your relationships when you're working remote.

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How remote work is changing the employment landscape

By now you've probably heard a lot about the perks of remote work -- setting your own schedule, wearing PJs and sweatpants to work, more time to spend with your family, no commute, work while you travel the world -- but do you know how remote work has impacted the world of work?

According to some reports, for at least 50% of the US workforce, working from home has become the standard. Other reports show more than 70% of employees worldwide work remotely at least once a week.

Here are a few more illuminating statistics:

  • The number of remote positions has increased by at least 140% since 2005 according to Global Workplace Analytics.
  • When surveyed, 90% of remote workers said they prefer to work remotely for the rest of their lives.
  • Companies that permit remote work less turnover than companies who don't.

Working Remote: Surviving (and Thriving) When You're Not In the Office

Remote work offers employers and employees a lot of upside.

Most remote workers feel they are more productive working remotely with 91% reporting they get more accomplished outside of the office. And compared to all workers remote workers report feeling more valued at work and happier at work overall.

Since when you work remotely, you are given a lot of autonomy, it's important to respect that trust your employer is placing in you by taking the initiative when it comes to fitting into the company culture.

After all, despite all of the benefits remote work is not all sunshine and roses.

As you can imagine, when you don't physically work together sometimes communication challenges happen occasionally.

Not to mention the frustration that can occur when you add cross-timezone communication, isolation, and a lack of structure into the mix. Perhaps that is why remote workers tend to rate their relationship with coworkers less highly than those employees who work onsite.

It's harder for remote workers to form strong bonds with their team members because they don't have as much in-person contact with them.

Unlike working together in an office setting, remote workers won't bump into coworkers in the break-room or share a ride on the elevator–all those small interactions that help build relationships. That's why remote workers need to make sure they build rapport with their coworkers.

7 Ways to Cultivate Relationships With Co-workers

You don't need to be a genius or a social butterfly to forge strong relationships with the people you work with. What you do need is the motivation to try and a few pointers on how to best proceed.

  1. Always keep it professional – Even though you may be using apps like Whatsapp, Trello, Skype, and Slack to communicate with your team members, remember to keep your tone formal as if you're talking with your colleagues and superiors.
  2. Don't underestimate the importance of effective written communication – In a remote role, written communication will take the place of face-to-face interaction. That means that you will need strong writing skills to make sure you get your point across clearly.
  3. Reach out to co-workers proactively – One way you can help your team work cohesively is to make the effort to get to know your coworkers. Initiate casual conversations to learn more about the people you work with every day.
  4. Meet in person if you have the opportunity – Another way to help you feel more connected is to get together with coworkers in real life whenever the opportunity presents itself. It can be as simple as meeting for coffee.
  5. Make sure you keep everyone in the loop – When you use email and chat apps to communicate, it helps to include the relevant people in conversations, document the outcomes and action items of conversations, and respond to pertinent notifications throughout the day.
  6. Follow up frequently – Working remotely opens the door for things to get taken out of context or slip through the cracks. If you don't get a response to your message, follow up just to make sure it didn't get lost.
  7. Set communication expectations with your manager and team – Because you're unable to meet face-to-face, when you work in a remote position you should establish parameters for communication early in the engagement. When are you expected to be available? How often will you communicate? Through which channels? All of this should be understood to avoid issues down the road.

Following these tips will help you lay the foundation for strong working relationships with your co-workers.

Final thoughts

As you may have noticed when working remotely, it's important to work on maintaining good relationships with your coworkers.

Hopefully, you found this guide helpful as you seek exciting new remote tech and engineering work opportunities.

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