By now, you’re a week or so into your journey of working from home because of COVID-19. You’ve settled on a comfortable place to work, got a desk set up that rivals the one at the office, you’ve found your flow and probably even got some things accomplished. But if you’re like me, you are starting to miss your work peeps. Those work buddies that get you through tough days at work or at home. Your cat can only help so much before it retreats to a sunspot on the floor for a nap.
You may not have put on pants yet, and have probably noticed that PJs are an acceptable form of business attire -as long as you don’t wear the same ones every day. The new work from home routine is going pretty well now, and you can almost see yourself doing this for another week or ten- let’s not think that far ahead!
Yet, loneliness is a real concern with so many working from home in isolation. While you may be comfortable, there’s still something amiss. Working in teams every day at the office gives you a sense of togetherness and pride. You can only work on a deserted island for so long before you need to return to the mainland for some face-to-face interaction. But with the reality that we are facing right now, face-to-face contact is not an option.
Here are some tips on what you can do to feel connected with your coworkers again even though you’re physically apart:
Make an effort to reach out
Drop text messages to say “hi” to your coworkers. A random text at the right time can mean so much to someone who may be having a bad day. There’s a funny thing about communication: when you’re thinking of them, they’re likely thinking of you. Yet, we often pass on our instincts and say that we’ll do it later, but never do.
When times are as anxious, uncertain and unfamiliar as they are right now, people need familiar faces and voices more than ever. With social distancing and isolation being the lingo for our current lifestyle, it’s time to make an effort to reconnect by any means possible.
Get personal! Share your new work environment and home life
Everyone wants to be comforted right now; they want to feel as though they are OK. The best way to comfort others working from home and help them adjust to the new normal is to share pictures of your office life. Take photos of our setup, share stories of how you’re adapting to make this situation more comfortable.
When your coworkers can relate to what you’re going through, they will feel at ease, knowing that they are not alone with their frustrations and anxieties. Working from home isn’t for everyone. But by sharing each other’s work-from-home situations, you can make it more relaxed for all.
Chat about non-work related stuff
It’s so much easier to talk about non-work stuff when you’re at the office. Those conversations are the foundation of having a thriving company culture. The lunchroom chats and watercooler talks are the basis for making friends at work. However, the moment you take your business to the internet while working from home, it’s all business and no play.
Be sure to maintain the balance of conversation when you’re chatting with coworkers working from home. Of course, “talking shop” is necessary, but be sure to talk about your hobbies and interests outside of work. Ask others how they’re coping with this.
It may be hard to break the ice in small-talk communication with everything fun put on hold. But, we have a shared bond to talk about with our isolation. Have that personal conversation before that business ask, and it will go a long way to easing the anxiety of the situation. We’re all into this together.
Buy lunch, have it delivered, and have a lunch date over Zoom
One of the central pieces to Dovico’s culture is its kitchen. The kitchen is our most significant meeting area and the place where healthy food is prepared, and stories are shared. Every lunch hour, you will find a handful of teammates gathering together to eat lunch, talk and connect. With everyone working from home, this is obviously not possible anymore.
If you’re used to lunch dates with your coworkers, how about getting together and ordering take out, and having a lunch date online? Now, more than ever is a great time to help your favourite local restaurants with your business. Once you are all settled down, jump on a Skype or Zoom video call. Share your day with everyone at the office, I’m sure most would love to see your pets walk by the camera! It’s a great way to reconnect and have some semblance of team building.
We’re all in this together!
With a little effort, open communication, and creativity, you can reconnect with coworkers in a meaningful way. We can only work apart for so long before we begin to disconnect. Spending meaningful time bridging the self-distancing gap will help maintain the company culture that has made your career and company great.
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