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How to stay connected to your colleagues while away from work

Author: 4MAT Administrator

Many of us may not have realised how much we appreciated weekly Bake Off chats with our colleagues - and certainly how much we'd miss the associated office cakes. Working from home has removed this in-person connection, but can we replicate it online and find new ways of keeping in touch with our peers, managers and employees.

Here’s how you can stay connected to your colleagues while away from work:

Pick up the phone

At work we switch between emailing, messaging, calling and speaking to our colleagues in person. To stay connected to our colleagues and maintain some normalcy we must try to keep all these lines of communication open. Of course, not being in one place together means that speaking in person is no longer a viable option but this is where video come to the rescue.

A survey by Lifesize found that video calls help 89% of remote workers feel more connected to their colleagues. Whether you’re reaching out to your colleagues for a work-related reason or simply to catch up you can’t dispute the power of video.

If you’re concerned about the mental health of a colleague check out See Me’s Power of Okay campaign. These resources remind us how powerful communication is when staying connected to our colleagues.

Watercooler chats

The workplace can be an extremely sociable place at times meaning that being away from work can leave us feeling lonely and disconnected from our colleagues. Like many in the workplace, Branch Managers are accustomed to a sociable job where they interact with their colleagues throughout the day and there’s always time for a quick chat. Whatever your role is at work, to recreate this general chit chat set up ‘watercooler chats’ either on your company’s messaging system or in an informal group and let the running threads keep the small talk alive.

The beauty of these chats is that you can keep them general or create niche groups. Maybe there’s a group at your work who’d be interested in joining a book club, or a crowd of animal lovers who’d get involved in a ‘furry friends’ chat where you can all share pictures of your animals enjoying the extra time you’re spending at home with them.

A weekly virtual coffee break

SHRM’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report reveals that 77% of employees need relationships with their colleagues to feel engaged. Therefore, it’s important to maintain these connections for when we return to work and a virtual coffee break is a great way to do this. While the watercooler chats are a running conversation with different groups, these scheduled weekly calendar events allow the entire team to come together – virtually - and get some much-needed face time.

Many of us will be thankful that the daily commute is no longer a part of our routine but we may also miss the stability that a routine brings and this is something a regular coffee break can offer. Having some consistency when our daily routine has been disrupted can help us become more productive– so it’s a real win-win.

Host a pub quiz

Going to the pub after work might not be an option for you right now but that doesn’t mean socialising with colleagues is off the cards. In times of limited social interaction, we have technology to thank for keeping us connected with the faces we’re used to seeing every day. Video calling software – such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams - has made it easier than ever to host a pub quiz without having to leave your living room.

If you fancy being the quizmaster for a night you can find a quiz already made for you online, - all you need to do is set a date and time and invite your colleagues along. So you can all sit back and enjoy some friendly competition along with an optional quarantini.

Find out more about working for Plumbing and Heating

P&H are committed to supporting our colleagues remain together at home, and hope that the above tips help everyone stay connected during these times. It’s our mission to be the best at what we do and we couldn’t achieve this without our dedicated workforce. Find out more about how we work hard together to uphold our family values.

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