For all its benefits, like saving some dough and getting to work in your pajamas, remote working also has its challenges. Loneliness is primary among them. The trick to getting the most out of your remote time is making sure that you never feel isolated or siloed—even if you’re working on your own. Here’s how to stay connected as a remote worker, including as an employee and as a person, during your work hours.
Set up regular remote meetings
It’s a common misconception that remote workers don’t attend meetings. They do—in fact, a survey from Owl Labs shows that they often go to more of them than in-office workers. That’s because getting regular, consistent feedback is an important part of productive remote working. If you’re the manager of a remote worker, or a remote worker yourself, consider implementing some of these strategies for staying in touch:
- A daily check-in: It’s always good to make sure that everyone’s on the same page. Even if it’s just over Slack, make sure that everyone knows which daily tasks to prioritize.
- A weekly team meeting: When you’re part of a hybrid or remote team, it can be important to hear about what other people are working on—even if it’s outside of the scope of your focus. Pro tip: For remote meetings, try to encourage using Zoom or Google Hangouts. Video can be a bit awkward at first, but it’s more personal than a conference call—and can help bond a team together, setting the groundwork for collaboration (even at a distance). After all, much of communication is non verbal. faces need to be seen, expressions interpreted, for full effect.
- Occasional in-person meetings: Whether it’s one-on-one or with the entire team, nothing beats face-to-face. If there’s another remote teammate of yours located close by, plan days to work together. If it’s feasible, get everyone on the team together a few times a year—for a meeting, retreat, or even just an office hang. You can use the space to share business updates, individual successes and failures from the past quarter—whatever the format, the point is to make everyone feel included. Remember: The purpose of getting everyone together is ultimately to help everyone feel more connected to each other.
Designate an in-office contact for remote workers
When you’re working at a distance, it can be easy to feel out of the loop—or worse, like your concerns or questions aren’t being addressed. One way to combat this issue is to designate an in-office liaison to field all remote-related queries and issues. This person can be a manager, or they can be on the same level as the rest of the team. One part of this liaison’s responsibility would be making sure hybrid meetings run smoother—by letting remote workers take the floor when they have something to say, and making sure that their issues are heard. In some cases, you’ll need a manager or an HR professional to help designate this liaison. But that doesn’t mean you can’t approach them with the idea.
Find a remote working buddy
Friends and so-called “work wives” can have a huge impact on productivity. According to research done by Gallup, women with a work buddy report feeling 63% more engaged with their work than those without one. If you’re a part of a hybrid team, try to find someone that you can regularly check-in with who can help keep you motivated when working alone is getting to be too much.
Use a remote working office platform
Communication is clearly the key to successful remote working. But sometimes too much communication—or the wrong kind of it—can actually put a damper on productivity. Micromanaging can have a damaging impact on output. That’s why office platforms like Trello, Asana, or Todoist, where team workflow can be monitored and important documents can be shared, are so important. They can help keep a micromanager’s worst tendencies at bay—giving a transparent way for everyone to monitor each other’s progress, as well as their own.
Communicate about more than your remote work
Slack is good for more than just workflow. When you’re out of the office, keep in touch with your coworkers about more than just your daily tasks. If you can, try to stay up-to-date with people’s birthdays and what’s going on in their lives. Don’t be afraid to touch base with other people about things that aren’t specifically about work—relationship building is part of your job, too! Communicating with your coworkers in lighthearted ways can help keep the out-of-office malaise from setting in, and keep your work on track.
Change up your remote work routine
Sometimes feeling more connected when you’re remote working doesn’t have anything to do with the office at all. Sometimes, you just have to feel connected to the world. If you work from home, consider trying a new location. Head to a coffee shop, investigate renting a desk at a coworking space, or just get lunch with a buddy in the neighborhood. Changing up your routine, and breaking out of your isolationist tendencies, can often have a very positive impact on your work.
And remember, the workday should have a little room for enjoyment. Whether that means implementing a fun team-building channel on Slack or simply giving a friend a phone call when you complete a difficult task, don’t hesitate to take breaks and reward yourself for putting in the time and doing good work. Having fun is also part of the productive rhythm of a workday.
Finding the right solutions to the challenges of remote working
Learning how to stay connected as a remote worker is important. But finding the balance between being connected and also having enough space to actually do the rigorous work that remote schedules are best suited for—that’s what this is all about. It might take some time to figure out which techniques for staying connected work best for you, but just remember: You’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, that’s what adopting a flexible schedule is all about.
This story is part of our new series on remote working. Like what you’re reading? Check out The 23 Best Tools and Apps for Remote Working!