Remote working is here to stay no matter what. Of course, there are people who would say remote working does not build good camaraderie among colleagues.
As someone who has been remote working for 3 years and more, I can confidently say that these people are lying. It is false to say that you cannot build good working relationships with other remote workers.
I should know, because I have worked well remotely with many people I have never even met face-to-face in real life. These are people from all over the world, so I would not have been able to meet them physically anyway unless I flew to their country, or them to mine.
Frankly, I have also worked in an office for years. I have to say that if I disliked someone, putting me in the same room as them for 9 to 10 hours a day is not going to magically make me bond with them. In fact, seeing them ruins my day – and my relationship with them – even more.
Here are 4 ways you can improve your relationships with your boss and colleagues, even if you a remote worker:
Be “vocal” in chats to make yourself memorable when remote working
If your manager and teammates cannot ‘see’ you, make yourself ‘seen’ by sending messages often in your Slack or Skype chats.
By this, I do not mean to spam your colleagues with random messages, which is a surefire way to get them to dislike you. There is no need to send good morning or good evening texts for no reason.
Instead, you can share important work updates to your manager weekly, offer your help if you see your manager or teammates struggling with a large workload, and even share harmless fluff news to discuss once a week or so (“have you seen this cute cat video?”).
This will help you stand out at work, keep you responsible, and make you sound approachable even if no one takes you up on the offer to help. Only offer to help if you can timewise and skills-wise, though! Offering help that creates more of a mess will create dislike instead.
Check the phrasing of your emails and messages before sending
It would be prudent to double-check your messages before sending them across to the other party, especially if it is on a sensitive topic. Reading comprehension is not the same across the board, so you want to make sure that you are clear in writing without room for arguments.
For most work-related interactions, sticking to being factual and succinct would be good enough. This will help to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
Additionally, always try to find answers on your own before asking a question. If your question sounds well-researched, it shows that you are independent and proactive. These are likeable traits.
Remember you are not friends – be careful about what you say via text or meetings
As for communication that are not work-related among you and your teammates, always remember that you are not actually friends. In fact, I believe in the adage that you will only know who your true friends are only after you have left the company.
You work with people who are from different backgrounds, cultures, belief systems, and have different values to you. Keep topics light and friendly. If you must badmouth your company, make sure to do it only with people who are not employed at your company OR maximum 1 person at your company that you can truly trust.
If you disagree with something someone said, there is no point in getting into an argument with someone you do not even see in a physical setting. Agree to disagree. You are here to pick up a pay cheque, not to change the world.
How would this improve your relationship with your boss or colleagues? Well, at the very least, it will not make things worse, or lower the company morale.
Rethink proposing constant meet ups with remote work colleagues living in the same city
This may sound counterintuitive, but remote workers most likely choose to remote work because they do not want to go out and see people daily.
Well, at least that is so in my case. Therefore, whenever I have a remote work colleague propose that we meet at a co-working space or café to work together on weekdays, I am always baffled.
Some people are more social than others. Some are entirely too social. There is no right or wrong way to approach this, but it is important to respect boundaries instead of forcing frequent physical interactions or team-bonding sessions on your colleagues.
It is not going to make work go better if someone feels like they must go out to meet you out of a sense of obligation, unless there is a good work-related reason to meet face-to-face.
These 4 tips can help you create a pleasant remote work atmosphere, even if you do not see your colleagues usually. Happy remote working!