Ideal for easy communication with co-workers.

Positive workplace morale can be an incredibly difficult thing to cultivate. There are divergent motivations to manage, power struggles to juggle and relationships fraught with friction to finesse. But as the old saying goes; ‘’teamwork makes the dream work’’. So, it’s vital that you continue to nurture beneficial, harmonious relationships with coworkers, even if the current climate calls for that to occur remotely.

Indeed, remote working has presented businesses with a whole host of new challenges, but nine months in, most companies are fortunately finding their feet with the new arrangement.

In fact, both employers and employees are finding that there are, in fact, many benefits to working from home, including a better work-life balance, greater overall flexibility, and in some cases, even an increase in productivity

But working from home has as many pitfalls as perks, and one thing it certainly lacks is the sense of community that a physical office often provides. This can lead to members of the team feeling isolated and out of the loop and may even present certain practical issues with workplace communication that can in turn have a negative impact on output. 

Fear not, there are some surefire ways to fix this sense of disconnect. These are those; our 5 ways to stay connected with colleagues whilst working from home.

KEEP UP WITH TRADITION

Though we never thought we’d admit to missing Keith from IT’s dad jokes and Karen’s tales of a tedious weekend, having only our partner for ‘office bantz’ has left us longing for the mundane chitchat provided by our colleagues.

Indeed, the social aspect of work is one of the most missed elements of the office for many. From friendly chatter between desks to Friday evening trips to the pub, the people you work with are often more than simply colleagues – they’re friends.

If you’re missing these interactions, why not suggest an after-work video hangout to recreate that communal feeling? Take advantage of seasonal opportunities, too – with December approaching, now could be a great time to suggest a virtual work Christmas party or remote Secret Santa, for instance. 

COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS 

When working remotely, it can be tempting to try and tackle too many tasks at once and attempt to solve problems single-handedly; roles and responsibilities have tended to get a little skew-whiff and distorted without face-to-face communication and collaboration these last few months, after all.

Remember that no person is an island, and while you might be on your own physically, you are still part of a team. Don’t be shy about reaching out when you need help and encourage others to do the same. 

Check in with other team members too in order to keep track of progress. Naturally, some things can be dealt with efficiently in email exchanges and direct messaging, but the occasional (a heavy emphasis on that word here) Zoom meeting can be extremely helpful when collaborating on shared projects, as a natural face-to-face conversational flow can often be significantly more productive in exploring new ideas and concepts. This is known as the water-cooler effect and is a proven phenomenon! 

INVEST IN A VIRTUAL OFFICE 

The concept of a ‘virtual office’ may sound like an oxymoron, but in fact, it can be an excellent solution to the conundrums many businesses face right now as they debate whether there is, in fact, a need for a physical office space at all anymore. 

Fortunately this need has been met by innovative companies looking to facilitate that office ‘feel’ remotely. Business hub Arise Innovation, for instance, offers virtual office packages which grant access to an array of networking facilities, digital events and meeting rooms. Might this be the solution you’re looking for?

Combing the best of both worlds by fostering communication and development within teams and businesses, and ensuring that physical meeting space is still available when necessary, this is an option which certainly provides food for thought. 

ONLINE TEAMBUILDING

We’re not the first to be secretly grateful that the annual office Christmas party has to occur online this year. That post New Year pick-me-up paintballing trip also looks under threat, and frankly, we’re delighted. 

Instead, more time efficient, comfortable and infinitely less oppressive online teambuilding is set to become ever more popular, and many Brits are welcoming the development. Whilst previous, face-to-face ‘icebreaker’ exercises used to always feel forced, being able to participate from home has much less of the ‘organised fun’ about it, don’t you think?

Consider hosting a virtual quiz or communal fitness event to keep morale up from a distance. Or, why not all attend an enjoyable, informative online cooking class, funded by management, of course? 

MAKE USE OF APPS

Sure, we’ve already mentioned Zoom as a fantastic facilitator of communication and connection with colleagues, but why stop there? There are a vast plethora of apps available to you which can boost morale, enhance collaboration and help keep coworkers in conversation, and many are free. Rather than witter on, we’ll redirect you to our advice on 5 ways to make working from home easy with apps. Do check it out!

THE BOTTOM LINE

When it comes to the world of offices and communication with colleagues the times they are a-changin’. Looking to the future, whether you’re relocating your business into a new space or simply undergoing an office renovation to help your company be more equipped to tackle these uncertain new times, here’s 7 potential mistakes you should avoid when designing your new office.