Working from home can be isolating, so make sure your team communicates not only about work tasks, but that there’s also space for informal conversations and for support calls. You can use regular video calls to encourage people to socialise. Being at home is also a great way to get to know each other better as you can share more things about your personal life, like showing around your house, or your taste in wall art, and nothing better than your kid or pets showing up on camera 😛
Practices to encourage socialising
Small support crews/Pods: 3 to 5 people that meet up weekly or biweekly to support and care for each other. Eg, check-in about your week, share feelings, talk about your developmental goals, encourage each other. Remember caring for each other is also part of the work.
Make sure you have enough time for check-ins and check-outs in your meetings, and encourage people to share their feelings.
If you use Slack or another team chat platform, set up water cooler, cool stuff, photos, and thank you channels for people to interact and share beyond just work tasks.
Co-working hours on video call: a couple of hours a day where the video call is on and anyone can jump in to see others and work side by side, you can chit chat or ask a few questions but this is not a meeting.
1-on-1 video coffee catch-ups: set up time for short breaks with different coworkers to have a coffee and a chat, like if you were in the office.
Remote work and healthy boundaries
When working remotely it can be challenging to set time boundaries, and not overwork as we have access to all notifications all the time. So here are some tips:
Set up your notifications to silence/do not disturb outside working hours.
Don’t read your work emails or check on your work comms tools as soon as you get out of bed, use that time for your personal morning routine.
Make sure you have a time to finish your working day, and don’t look at your emails or work comms platforms after that.
Make sure you take a few breaks during the day, get up, stretch, make tea, and chat with other humans.
Make sure you have time set up for socialising every day, with co-workers and also enough time with friends and family.
Tension and conflict
If you are concerned about miscommunication, or if there’s tension or conflict arising with some team members, then escalate the bandwidth of your communication tool: move from group channels → to 1-on-1 chat → to a voice call → to a video call. If the conflict is challenging to resolve, consider involving another person in your team that can help mediate.