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Remote Working Tips: How To Become Friends With Your Co-workers

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Remote Working Tips How To Become Friends With Your Coworkers

If you’ve started a new job in Vancouver in 2020, you may find yourself struggling to connect with co-workers. The COVID-19 pandemic that has so many Canadians working from home has clearly changed work life. Beyond re-structuring the job market and limiting our new job search, the pandemic has us more isolated from colleagues than ever.

These unprecedented circumstances are a challenge, but it’s important to understand our social needs how to fulfil them through work. Doing so will relieve stress and improve your performance at that new job in Vancouver. For any incoming newbies at your company, it will avoid turnover and ensure they don’t go back to the job search.

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Making friends at work is important!

At jobs in Vancouver and around the world, we’ve enjoyed chats with co-workers in the hall or caught up over coffee with our colleagues. This might appear incidental to our work, rather than something essential in the job market, but there are tangible benefits to these connections.

Research shows that employees with friendships at work see greater levels of productivity, job satisfaction, and job retention. Factors like moral and material support, personal and professional advice, and thee exchange of information contributed to these benefits.

Employees with workplace friendships were also seven times more likely to feel “engaged in their work” than those without. In addition, 30% of surveyed employees reported having a “best friend” at work, showing that these workplace connections can be truly impactful.

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But we’re losing the face-to-face part of our jobs…

The job market’s shift towards remote work this year was swift and widespread. The number of daily Zoom meetings growing from 10 million in December 2019 to over 300 million four months later. Statistics Canada also reported that 40% of Canadian workers are now doing their work from home.

As such, many of us are still adapting to the new challenges of being isolated throughout our working hours. In particular, those on a job search or starting new employment may face particular challenges.

One study of UK workers revealed that 55% had little to no experience with remote work prior to the pandemic. The same study reported an 11.8% decline in participants sense of community at work.

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How do we come up with new ways of befriending co-workers?

Given the importance of workplace connections, how can we continue to form positive relationships with coworkers while working from home? Here are a few tips for how to maintain social relationship with colleagues or become friends with co-workers.

1. Set up virtual coffee breaks

Zoom and other online meeting platforms can be useful for more than just meetings. General Assembly, an education company in New York City have set up a video chat for employees to hang out on breaks. Employees say it helps recreate the atmosphere of a breakroom or kitchen, where you can chat with friends and colleagues in a casual environment.

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2. Join an Employee Resource Group (ERG)

ERGs are groups within a company that create space for people who share aspects like gender, race, or age. They can also facilitate conversations around mental health. This allows underrepresented employees to find and reach out to one another and develop a sense of community.

3. Participate in after-hours activities

Although after-work drinks may not be an option for the time being, you can still set up virtual hangouts. Apps like Houseparty can provide games, quizzes, and a great way to connect and get to know your co-workers. Try a trivia night, happy hour, or other challenge of your creation.

The new reality of work from home may be challenging in many ways. But if we focus on creating a virtual community, we can still enjoy the many benefits of social connections at work and be happier and healthier employees.

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