I’ve long been a remote worker; I am well suited for it. Thus, it was a natural for me to offer a page of “remote working” resources with the recent increase in unexpected remote workers. This page had so many initial visitors that I’ve continued listed more links and resources. Check it out!
Workplace Connectedness and Networking During Social Distancing
Working from home doesn’t have to mean being socially isolated and “out of the loop.”
Sustaining connections with colleagues and clients is important for maintaining workplace communication, managing project productivity, and for avoiding the increased risk of loneliness and depression among remote workers.
So, a few tips:
- Dial in regularly to project and departmental planning and logistics calls (daily or weekly, as appropriate). These calls help keep projects on track (“Who is doing what?” “What’s happening with A and B?” “How is the client responding to X and Y?”). Just as these calls keep open necessary lines of communication, the calls support social connectedness/networking.
- Participate in “remote water cooler” events at your firm – online company communication portals, virtual lunches or dinners, project “chat sessions,” and the like. If your firm isn’t already offering such events, offer to start one! I have increased my involvement in this recently with several groups I’m a part-of; these Zoom calls offer professional and social connections and one earns leadership kudos from attendees (“Thank you for organizing this!”).
- Volunteer for company projects that allow you to interact with people at your firm. Lead projects, organizing charity drives, etc.
- Participate regularly on LinkedIn and other networking platforms. Post content, respond to other people’s content, anticipate content to post that could be of interest to people in your network.
- If you continue working remotely for the long-term: engage more actively with company and industry opportunities for networking – local industry events (association dinners and speakers), conferences, etc. Speaking at conferences has been one of the ways I’ve built professional recognition among potential clients – thus motivating me to attend conferences near and far. Once I am at a conference, I am attracted to the trade show floors at conferences that provide them; I get a social boost from the buzz of the trade floor.
- If you continue working remotely for the long-term: find local coffee shops where remote workers congregate. Take your devices there to work for at least one or two sessions per week – it’s a chance to be around people and develop new professional connections.
- Engage with social and family connections outside of work. These become more important for your personal well-being when you are connecting in person less at work.
Kim Burkhardt is a market research and competitive intelligence consultant at Burkhardt & Co.