Working remotely can feel a little lonely and frustrating, can’t it? We miss seeing our co-workers and working in a work-friendly environment every day in our office building. But, we did what we had to do to keep ourselves, our family, friends, and colleagues safe and healthy. However, those precautions can sometimes come with negatively influencing workplace relationships. That is why it is so important to set up a plan for maintaining workplace relationships whether you are working remote, in person, or somewhere in between. Here are few tips so that you can easily focus on your workplace relationships in the post-COVID world.
4 Tips to Make the Workplace Relationships Better
Most of the businesses and people started working 100% remotely in March 2020. Yet, in such isolating times, people have worked hard to maintain strong relationships with each other. But still, they need to learn how to build strong workplace relationships during and post-COVID.
Social distancing is for the greater good, but that doesn’t mean staying away from people is great. As a matter of fact, this distance can lead to workers feeling as though they are left in the dark, and no one wants that. The easiest way to make sure everyone is up to par with their work and engaged is to communicate a lot and frequently. And it doesn’t mean a simple “Hey, how you doing?” over your company’s messenger. Communication is a two-way street and more in-depth than a breezy check-in.
Definitely, it’s great to talk around the coffee machine or cafeteria with your co-workers, but you need to prioritize “real talk.” Real talk is more than cheering on your co-workers and telling them how great they are doing throughout the day. Instead, it’s open and honest. Let your team know how they can improve. Tell them where they’re excelling, but don’t sugar-coat where there is any room for growth.
Along with keeping communication “real,” check in often. Make the time to talk and give your team the opportunity to openly communicate. That way, you can nip potential problems in the bud before they fester. You can overcommunicate by talking with your team on a regular basis. The more often everyone talks, the more likely you will see any improvement in your workplace’s communication. Also, consider sending out routine communications to the entire company regularly on a monthly basis. Along with it, you can also:
- Send out company-wide newsletters
- Host video calls for the entire company to participate in
- Record messages from you and other managers in your company
Your goal is to get everyone talking and doing it often. And if you are fully back in the office or on a hybrid schedule, you can also still send out weekly, monthly, or yearly communications to stay in touch.
2. Practice Active Listening
Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness and on the quality of your relationships with others. Notably, we listen to obtain information, to understand, for enjoyment, and to learn. In order to foster workplace relationships, you need to practice active listening.
You can practice active listening by:
- Giving verbal and nonverbal signs of listening, for example, nodding the head and giving good eye contact.
- Asking questions for clarification
- Allowing whoever is speaking to finish before asking questions or responding
Understand that what you’re hearing may not be easy to take in. Avoid knee-jerk reactions and focus on the content. Can it feel like a gut punch when you find out what you thought was fine isn’t actually OK? Absolutely. But, actively listening to what your team has to say helps your business grow and make positive changes.
3. Build Strong Work Teams
Employee relationships are the backbone of a strong team. Strong teams can lead to company loyalty, increased productivity, and satisfied employees. To build strong work teams, you need to emphasize the importance of relationships.
To strengthen your team, encourage them to build channels on your messenger apps such as Slack to talk throughout the day. You have plenty of other options, too, like video calls, emails, and team events. Whether six feet apart in the office or in their homes, encourage employees to keep communicating and collaborating with one another to build strong relationships. In addition to making sure your team is talking, you can also give recognition and appreciation to your team for a job well done and be transparent with your co-workers at all times.
4. Create Opportunities for Social Connection
You need to think about how to create opportunities for social connection in a post-Covid world where everyone is working remotely. Technology has made it pretty simple. You can organize activities where everyone can participate. Some of the ideas include:
- Team-building activities
- Digital or in-person coffee breaks
- Interdepartmental competitions to encourage health and wellness
- Video call classes
- Socially distanced gatherings and events
You can also involve your HR team in planning and organizing activities that bring employees together even when they may be physically apart. Social connections may be down, but that’s not an excuse to let them stay that way. Also, remember that the activities are not required to be expensive or lavish, but they do have to be ones that get your employees excited to participate. Social connection opportunities do not have to be related to the work your employees do. Instead, plan non-work-centric functions that give your team a chance to bond with and relate to each other.
Post-Covid, we all are expecting to spend more time physically with people rather than on online platforms. So, find some ways to encourage workplace relationships that help you and your team to make better relationships.