Remote Working

How to take the struggle out of feeling connected at work

Lydia Watson

Here’s a question for you: how often have you heard someone say “the best thing about working here is the people”?

It’s a common sentiment and – though sometimes taken to imply something negative about everything else about that organisation – it says a lot about your company culture, communication, and connectivity.

Maybe it’s the Friday night pints, or the coffee break catch-ups, or even just the chance to have a good old moan across the desk about a customer (we’re only human!) – whatever it is, our workplace relationships make our professional lives more meaningful.

Why human connection matters – especially at work

It’s not a secret that we are inherently social creatures. As much as any other human need, it’s a part of life we rely on for our wellbeing. And when a big chunk of our waking hours are spent working, that means connecting with colleagues really matters.

It’s not just for our own mental health – connection fuels collaboration, which is proven to boost productivity, so it’s good for business too.

The challenge of how to connect remote employees

In this age of internet connections and video calls, why is it so hard to stay connected while we’re all out of office? There’s a few things you might not have considered:

  • Video socials can blur the lines: research shows that one big benefit of the office is keeping home and work separate. Grabbing a drink for a post-5pm Zoom social makes those already blurred lines disappear, cancelling out the social benefit
  • We’re all screened out: social or not, video call fatigue is real – making the prospect of any non-obligatory screen time unappealing, when it features so much in our working day. It’s tiring too, as it takes more effort to communicate naturally
  • No chance for breakaways: in other social work settings, you can float between conversations – from group discussions, to quiet conversations one-on-one. Big team video calls don’t give you the space to build those bonds if they don’t already exist.
  • Pressure to perform, not play: the joy of a ‘wasted’ half hour doesn’t exist in a remote working environment, where you’d fall into a conversation about Line of Duty and not notice 5pm had arrived. There’s no space for the play that builds connection.

How to make employees feel connected right now: 4 ideas

1. Designated no-work-chat time

“Virtual coffee’ dates are a great way to have one-on-one calls reserved for the ‘small talk’ you’d usually get in the office. Use an app that will pair people randomly – so they’re staying connected with the wider team – or just make it known that taking 30 minutes for a social conversation is encouraged.

2. Schedule safe social meet-ups

Whether you’re staying remote, going hybrid, or eventually returning to the office full-time, it’s good to find time for some ‘real life’ interaction. Designate half a day for a purely social, safe team meet up – whether park, cafe, or pub garden – and catch up on how everyone’s doing outside of work.

3. Prevent FOMO with full-team days

The ‘fear of missing out’ might impact your staff, if remote working continues once the office is open. If you’re staying partially remote, why not consider monthly ‘everybody in’ days – for socialising, strategising, and getting everyone aligned? Keeping it regular, but not too regular, will keep everyone aligned and energised when they do meet.

4. Build a conversation strategy with Qlearsite

More than a listening strategy, you need a conversation strategy. Your people want to feel heard, and they want to see your response to what they say. With Qlearsite you can send employee surveys specifically about communication, connection, listening and 20+ other relevant areas – and each one is made up of research-backed questions.

Smart Reader technology analyses their answers, so you see common pain points,  and understand exactly how people feel about these topics. Those insights give you a clear direction towards positive change – thanks to our action planning functionality – all so you can create an honest conversation between your organisation and its people.

Better feedback, better insights, real impact – find out how our platform does it:

It’s time to start the conversation

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