A recent survey has revealed that 63% of us have found it to be more challenging in making friends at work due to remote working. So how can we encourage more connection that will support staff in creating valuable social connections and stop people feeling isolated? Here are just some ideas but we would love to hear what your workplace has done.
Regular team catch ups
When we are in work we can drop over to someone’s desk and just say hi. Now we need to think of ways to instigate informal interactions. One is to allow time to for chats about non-work issues so the team can build relationships. Set up virtual coffee meetings.
Use your office space
Particularly now the UK has a strategy for living with Covid, remember to find occasions to bring people in to the office – this could be one day a work and build from there. Research is showing that physically being together is important for nurturing personal connections and allow people to connect more easily.
Encourage acts of kindness – we love this one!
Getting the team together for a volunteering day can be a great way to get employees to interact. There are many local charities who would value your help so why not reach out and see if they can help you with ideas. Also, don’t forget a simple ‘thank you’ is so powerful. Why not encourage peer-to-peer thank you notes.
Think of reasons other than birthdays and holidays to create some fun. Host appreciation hours or try and arrange a team lunch. We have also just seen photos of an employer who asked their team to come in wearing clothes they would wear on a zoom call. The photos were hilarious with pictures of suit jackets, PJ bottoms and fluffy socks.
Make time for fun
Why not start meetings by asking staff what’s on their mind, to talk about what they are binge-watching on Netflix or Prime, talk about their pets and let’s not forget arranging a virtual wine tasting with pizza session. We have also heard of employer’s starting book clubs.
Have a mentorship programme
Peer mentorship can be an effective initiative and can really help with onboarding. The relationship can be based on trust and therefore is often more personal. Employees are more likely to share their actual state of mind, concerns, etc. with their mentor than, for instance, with their manager.
All that said, don’t forget that checking in on a one to one basis is still vital too.