Navigating workplace relationships from home

Posted on July 15, 2020
By Catherine Heilemann

A hot topic of conversation on Saturday night with friends was how we navigate workplace relationships while working remotely. It’s not the same lamented one. I reflected on my time as an early adopter back in the 1990s with teams spread across the globe and what worked well. Back in those days there was no video, so we had to work harder to build bonds.

On Saturday night we all agreed we are saving on the commute time – a massive bonus in so many ways. So, now – there is little excuse for not spending half an hour a day checking in with your colleagues in a meaningful way. Some of the things you can do are: 

  • Ask your team members and colleagues how they are. Go beyond this and ask further questions about how they manage the work and home environment. What they do outside of work, and ask further questions about their response. 
  • Sharing funny gifs, photos and articles that could relate to work or colleagues interests also help to build relationships, and your identity at work. So, share away – people enjoy the reprieve. 
  • If you’re online with a colleague switch on your video! Be aware of your surroundings and like a model, work your angles – that is have your camera at eye level and aim for good lighting. 
  • Without over doing it, when something goes well or a colleague does something noteworthy give them a shout out. Be sure to go beyond ‘well done’. Explain why its noteworthy. 
  • If you’re geographically close enough, aim for a socially distanced walking meeting. Movement helps with thinking and its good for your health. A double whammy! 
  • Depending on the team dynamics you could organise a virtual session of trivia, scattergories, yoga or other exercise.  
  • The professor who turned up to a 30th as a Moulin Rouge dancer – true story and is still being talked about six years later. Have you thought about having Friday night drinks (virtually of course) and theming them? You only need to focus on the top half which makes theming even easier. 
  • Have you ever experienced a situation when a text message has been taken out of context? When working remotely this can happen more easily. This means there is more call for dealing with tension. It can be helpful to bounce ideas around with a third-party to work out how to deal with it, I spit-ball with clients if you’re in need of working through a tricky situation now: https://BookyourCoaching– 
  • How much do you know about the people you work with? If you find yourself thinking perhaps there is room for improvement, take some time to find out about the people you interact with – there may be many interesting things to discover. National customs, holidays and festivals are great to find out about. 

Navigating workplace relationships from home

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