Hybrid and remote work environments have seen a huge rise in popularity over the last few years. While there are many benefits to a remote structure, it also comes with a few challenges.
Things like maintaining professional connections, team building, and networking effectively are essential for remote workers who want to feel a sense of connection with their business, and those who want to find continued growth in their careers.
If you work from home, building these connections via digital channels is important. Letâ€™s take a closer look at why it can be challenging, as well as a few tips that can make it easier to communicate and network remotely.
The Challenge of Connection
Almost everyone in business knows the importance of networking. As the old saying goes, itâ€™s â€śwho you knowâ€ť that can help you get ahead. Unfortunately, when youâ€™re sitting at home behind a computer screen all day, itâ€™s not always easy to meet the right people or even feel like youâ€™re an active part of your team.
This lack of effective communication can lead to several issues within a workplace, including:
- Employee burnout
- Reduced productivity
- Lack of focus
- Slower workflow
It can also cause you to feel like youâ€™re missing out on important opportunities or that youâ€™re not able to connect with people who could advance your career. Even though weâ€™re living in a digital world, itâ€™s much easier to foster a connection with someone in person.
However, that doesnâ€™t mean there arenâ€™t things you can do to boost your digital connection and feel more in tune with your team, and people who can help you achieve your goals.
Tips for Communicating
The reason remote work has become so popular is that we have the technology to make it easy for most people. Donâ€™t be afraid to take advantage of that technology when it comes to communicating and connecting with your team and individuals who can help you get ahead.
If you want to stay connected with your colleagues, try things like weekly team meetings, making time for social chat, and using platforms like Slack to make sure youâ€™re all on the same page with different projects and tasks. Interdepartmental communication is essential to success. It allows you to pick up on certain skills from other people in your business, and network within your company. It will also improve workflow and improve trust between teams, benefitting both you and the business you work for.
When it comes to virtual networking, donâ€™t be afraid to go the extra mile and put yourself into the digital space to connect with the right people. Spruce up your LinkedIn profile and start contacting individuals in your industry. Attend online events. Boost your portfolio.
One of the best ways to connect with others in your industry is to join virtual groups and classes.
Itâ€™s especially effective for people with marginalized identities or those who might experience inequality in the workplace. For example, if youâ€™re a woman in the business or tech industry, you might benefit from mentorship or empowerment groups that can help you break the glass ceiling and boost your confidence as you climb the ladder.
Many of us have grown up surrounded by technology, and future generations will be fully immersed in it. There are pros and cons to that. In the business world, one of the challenges of being so comfortable with virtual connections is that it can be difficult to change the way we interact.
Obviously, youâ€™re not going to connect with your friends online the same way you would with a co-worker or other professional. However, itâ€™s easier to â€śslipâ€ť than you might think. Make sure youâ€™re communicating appropriately while working remotely by:
- Using designated channels to connect
- Using appropriate language
- Acting appropriately
- Recognizing communication breakdowns
Remote work is likely to continue to grow in popularity. Technology will continue to make it easier to stay connected with people across the globe. However, it will always be up to each worker to put in the time and effort to communicate effectively.
Keep these tips in mind as you remind yourself of some of those challenges — and how to overcome them — for a better, more successful work-from-home experience.
This blog was originally contributed to Workplace Fairness. Published with permission.
About the Author: Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, and education When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.