Having close friends at work is important to both your job satisfaction and productivity. Building those relationships can be harder at a distance, so:
- Create a virtual water cooler. This is part of building personal relationships. When you're at home, you miss out on those casual, drive-by encounters where you chat about work, TV shows, or something cool you're reading. These days, you can create a virtual water cooler through common persistent chat software such as Microsoft Teams. Start a watercooler channel where you share links, observations, personal stories.
- Raise your hand. Sometimes it can feel like it's “out of sight, out of mind” when you're working at home. To maintain your profile, get involved wherever you can, including committees, affinity groups or special projects. Research shows people who volunteer do better in all aspects of their well-being, including work, health, money and life in general.
- Get personal. Remote meetings don't have to be 100 percent transactional. When appropriate, take time to ask about your colleagues' lives or share something personal to break the ice. To form closer relationships, consider taking walk-and-talk meetings or scheduling virtual coffee or lunch over video. If you can get into the office occasionally, schedule casual in-person meet-ups where you can talk anything-but-shop.
*Adapted from Fidelity Investments Employee Value of Benefits Research