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James, Import Operations Manager, (Global)
How to remain part of the team when working remotely
Working remotely or from home can have numerous benefits as we have discussed in depth before – a better work life balance, no commuting costs or time and less stress. But there is one main disadvantage, and this is the difficulty in integrating into a team that they don’t physically see very often. When you’re not present face to face, you’ll miss out on the impromptu lunches, the quick drinks after work, the “water cooler gossip”, and although none of these things are pertinent to completing your job successfully, they do help you to build relationships with colleagues, and form a strong team to work alongside. There are ways in which you can help form those bonds and feel more of a team member:
Video Conferencing – Rather than opting for a teleconference, why not arrange a videoconference – sometimes having a chat with colleagues or clients and seeing the whites of their eyes is far more personable, once you get past the initial “argh do I really look like that on screen” feelings! It also has the added benefit of screen sharing functionality, so you can show others exactly what you would show them if the meeting were literally face to face.
Pick the Phone Up – I think we are all probably guilty of writing yet another email when it would be far easier to pick the phone up and have a chat. Not only is this far more difficult to be ignored, but it’s quicker, and a much better way of building relationships with colleagues.
Social Media – Social Media can be a dangerous thing, often breeding a false unpleasant reality – that said, it has it’s place in connecting people, and for teams that all work remotely, having a Facebook group or Whatsapp group to connect with colleagues can be really useful. A place to swap advice, stories, arrange drinks, send amusing gifs…these are all ways of helping employees get to know one another and start functioning as team members rather than individuals.
Messaging Platforms – These are becoming more popular in the workplace, and there are numerous platforms on the market for businesses to use, Skype being one of the best known ones. It makes connecting with colleagues ridiculously easy. You can often see if they are at the desk, away, in a meeting, or not in the office, giving you a far better understanding of your team mates whereabouts.
Team Events – Once you’re tucked away in your cosy little home office, the thought of venturing out to a team get together can often feel a little daunting. But stepping out of your comfort zone and getting out to see colleagues for team social events is really important. It’s a great way to get to know your co-workers in an informal setting.
All of these tips will help you to integrate into your team, but of course, nothing quite beats the office banter, and the camaraderie of being there in person, so if you can, make the effort to go and work from your office whenever you can. After work drinks are definitely not as fun “remotely”!