How to make work friends when working remotely

How to make work friends when working remotely

There are many advantages to working from home, including a lack of commute and a better work-life balance. But it’s fair to say that remote working is not great for fostering a sense of belonging and friendships in the workplace.

This may seem trivial at first glance, but feeling connected is directly linked to our satisfaction and productivity at work. According to this survey by Wildgoose, 58% of workers put happiness above salary in answer to the question “Which is more important to you at work?” In the same survey, 57% of respondents said having a ‘work best friend’ make the work more enjoyable. 22% thought they were more productive, and 21% felt they were more creative.

So what can you do to make friends with your co-workers when you work remotely?

Schedule informal chats, regularly

Once a week, once a month – whatever works for you. But remember, this is not about work. To make friends, you’ll need to share a bit about yourself. Tell your workmates about that exciting book you’re reading, or ask for their Netflix recommendation. Bit by bit, you’ll build up a picture of who they are and vice versa.

Use interesting questions

It can be hard to strike the right balance, especially when you’re new to the team. Ask open-ended questions so your co-workers can decide how much they want to share. Asking “What do you do for fun?” or “What’s on your bucket list?” is likely to spark an interesting discussion.

Share in the joy

A great way of connecting with someone is by giving them praise. People like to be liked! Pay attention to the projects your co-workers are working on. Make sure to comment on their effort and celebrate their victories, big and small.

Arrange to meet in person

Once you have a better idea of who your co-workers are and what they enjoy, suggest meeting in person for non-work related activity. You could check out a new exhibition, arrange a football game in the park or just get together for some drinks. While it’s perfectly possible to start a friendship online, there’s nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting to develop the connection. Also, if you live close enough, you could arrange to work together in the same shared space from time to time.

It’s apparent that the key to making friends with co-workers when you’re working remotely is intentionality. What would happen naturally in an office, like a Monday morning catch-up or an impromptu happy hour drink after a successful deal, is not easily replicated when working remotely. So to build up a rapport with others and even find a work best friend, you’ll need to focus your effort intentionally. It won’t be the same, but it will undoubtedly be worth it.