Congratulations! You’ve landed a job that has a benefit you’ve wanted for a long time: working from home. Say hello to a road rage free day, yoga pants, and slippers (or no shoes, if you prefer.)
While working from home definitely has its perks, it also comes with a unique set of challenges. Without regular face time, you may struggle to feel like you’re truly a part of the team or you might have trouble deciphering your boss’ tone in emails. Whether you’re new to remote work or you’ve been at it a while, adopt these six habits to build a deeper connection with your manager and team.
1. When you’re in the office, maximize your time with team members. Be intentional about making both one-on-one appointments and group meetings. Never eat alone. Maximize the windows of time that you are with your coworkers in person to build relationships.
2. Remember birthdays and special dates. Put important dates on your calendar and make sure to send a gift or a note in celebration. This is a great way to build rapport with your team and show them that you care.
3. At least once a week, check in on life outside of work. Send your colleague a two-line email asking about her daughter’s school play. Start a meeting asking what everyone did over the weekend. Visit your colleagues’ social media profiles and comment on a photo. A great way to build rapport is to inquire about life outside of work.
4. Use video conferencing whenever possible. Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom are all great options for turning conference calls into video calls. Utilizing video increases feelings of familiarity and gives people the opportunity to remember that you’re not just a voice on the other end of the call.
5. Initiate optional opportunities for team members to connect. Most likely, leadership at your company is open to groups forming, they just don’t have the bandwidth to initiate them. So go ahead and take that initiative and start affinity groups like a book club, movie club, or fantasy football league.
6. Overcommunicate. Remember that folks in the office might assume you already know office news. So check in regularly. Ask if there is any news around the office that you should know.
Building connection and camaraderie with your team as a telecommuter undoubtedly takes a little bit of extra effort. But the payoff is worth it. Implement these six habits and you will begin to build rapport with your team.
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A version of this article was first published on the McKinley Marketing Partners Blog.