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Building Relationships Is Important, Even When You Work Remote
Work Management
Last modified date

Jun 8, 2023

How to Build Remote Relationships with Coworkers

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Magnus Eriksen

Blog average read time

5 min

Last modified date

June 8, 2023

Before the pandemic, happy hours and team building exercises were just a couple of the ways you could meet new coworkers and encourage communication in a team.

Today, starting a new job or a new role can mean never seeing your new coworkers face-to-face. Furthermore, it can be difficult—if not impossible—to build healthy relationships in a hybrid or fully remote work setting.

So how can you build workplace relationships when the only time you talk to your team is via a text box or Zoom?

This article will walk you through some of the most effective ways to build better workplace relationships, even if you’re working from a coffee shop in New York and your coworkers are in Amsterdam.

Building Relationships Is Important, Even When You Work Remote

Before the past few years, remote work was rare and reserved for only a few roles. However, the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated that people could work remotely and still accomplish their work.

Today, many people work fully remote or in a hybrid format where they work at home one to two days a week. In any case, maintaining healthy relationships with your coworkers is still essential as it helps ensure better productivity and can improve your mental health.

Now that you know why building relationships is meaningful let’s look at how your team can maintain relationships better.

First, it’s crucial to understand the need for connection. From high-capacity leaders to freshly-hired interns, we all can benefit from social interactions at work. That’s because, well, we’re human.

Whether you’re a chief compliance officer tasked with monitoring HIPAA regulations or a digital marketing expert, building healthy relationships at work will benefit you and others.

Schedule Regular Video Meetings

One of the key advantages of in-person work is that it’s easy to bump into people and have a casual conversation in the hall or your office. However, these organic discussions happen less frequently with remote work if your coworkers are uncomfortable online.

A simple but effective way to continue building relationships, even when you work remotely, is to schedule regular meetings using video conferencing software.

One way to alleviate this problem is with regularly scheduled meetings. Regular video calls allow your team to see each other and share their work. People get the chance to discuss what they’re collaborating on or share problems and difficulties that they’re facing.

You can schedule a virtual team building session with your team to keep them motivated and engaged.

Second, regular video meetings help familiarize your team with remote work software. Technology usually helps solve problems, but it can actually create them in this case.

If your team is used to working face-to-face and doing business in person, it can seem difficult to work online. Technical issues, like fixing your microphone or camera, can seem insurmountable.

Thankfully, practice does make perfect and these skills employees will acquire connecting for meetings will mean that they can carry them over to other aspects of their job.

Keep Conflicts in Mind

When people work from home, it’s important to remember some rules of etiquette for setting remote meetings.

First off, remember that not everyone is available at any time. Just like when you work in person, not everyone will be able to make a meeting just because you scheduled it.

For example, some people who work remotely may be responsible for their children or pets.

It’s essential to communicate with your team to find the best time to meet.

Second, avoid assuming that people are being rude if they don’t make every single remote meeting or that they don’t want to be updated on what’s happening.

Utilize Software Built for Remote Work

Video software is critical for ensuring that everyone can maintain their relationships, even while working remotely. However, other software is critical, too, if you want to build better relationships with coworkers.

Use team collaboration software with core features such as inviting your staff, clients, or contractors to a project and then sharing images and files safely and securely.

Consider using software that lets you collaborate on copywriting as well. For example, many tools allow you to collaborate in real time and see changes as they happen rather than emailing documents back and forth.

Creatives are also familiar with other types of software that allow them to build mockups with other people. Paymo can make it simple to review designs and provide feedback on creative work.

Remember, picking the right software is vital because it will allow you and your team members to communicate in real-time more naturally than if you simply rely on email and phone calls. The right software can supplement your virtual office and simplify work and make it easier for your team to build relationships.

Let People Socialize

One way to help encourage healthy relationship-building is by letting people socialize. This might sound obvious, but have you ever been in a Zoom meeting and found the silence a little awkward?

Some managers will cut meetings short or try to cram as much business into a meeting as possible. However, both of these things can do more harm than good.

Accomplishing work is essential, and so is signing off the next big deal, but building relationships is an essential part of that process.

This means that you shouldn’t skip small talk. Arriving early can help, but so can having a good laugh.

Remember, the goal is to build relationships just as much as to accomplish work. These relationships will make you and your team more effective in the long run.

These types of practices are fundamental as more organizations become global. You may work at a company with no physical office, fully remote, with people from all around the world.

One way to better connect with your international coworkers, even if they speak English, is to learn some phrases in their native languages, such as Japanese or Portuguese. Simply learning how to introduce yourself in their language can go a long way toward building stronger bonds.

The bottom line is that even in a video conference meeting, it’s okay to take a breather and let people chat about something other than work. These types of casual conversations help facilitate relationship-building, which is extremely important for a successful business.

Eliminate Barriers to Remote Work

Many jobs can be performed remotely, whether working as a social media manager, a Facebook ads specialist, or a virtual assistant. Sometimes, however, these jobs can still face barriers to remote work.

Removing some of these barriers can help make building relationships easier.

One way to do this is to discover your colleagues’ needs so you can facilitate their remote work.

An example of eliminating barriers is providing proper training to staff so they know how to utilize remote work software.

You can also be flexible with your deadlines. Just because people are working at home doesn’t mean they will be available at a moment’s notice.

Many people have children or pets at home. Someone’s dog may need to be let out before they’re ready to devote their time to a meeting, or their son may make a surprise appearance.

Either way, accommodating these natural aspects of working from home can help make it easier to deconstruct barriers to remote work and facilitate relationship building.

Check In With Your Colleagues Regularly

Regularly checking in with your colleagues is all the more important when you work remotely. Unfortunately, building relationships at a distance can be more difficult, but you’ll soon reap the benefits by putting in extra work.

When checking in with colleagues, utilize video conferencing, if possible, or the telephone.

Using video and voice to communicate is essential because, without face-to-face contact, you’ll be unable to see or hear the usual cues that come with in-person communication.

By video calling and chatting over voice, you’ll at least be able to gather some, if not many, of these cues you’d otherwise miss with an email.

Keep in mind, though, to distinguish when it’s appropriate to use video and voice to communicate. These tools are essential when first meeting your team and coworkers, but over time, as your relationships develop, a simple question may be better served by sending your teammate a quick message.

The Bottom Line

No matter what your job is, you have to be capable of building relationships. Remote and hybrid work has made this task more complex, especially for employees used to working in person.

By nurturing your relationships with some of these tips, you can improve your work and boost your mental health and the mental health of your coworkers.

Remember to check in with your colleagues regularly, use software that allows you to communicate more easily, and break down barriers preventing you from working effectively while remote.

If you take these steps, you’ll see improvements in your relationships in no time.

First published on October 27, 2022.

Magnus Eriksen


Magnus Eriksen is a copywriter and an eCommerce SEO specialist with a degree in Marketing and Brand Management. Before embarking on his copywriting career, he was a content writer for digital marketing agencies such as Synlighet AS and Omega Media, where he mastered on-page and technical SEO.

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