Working From Home: Staying in Contact
As a remote worker you’re deprived of even the simplest, most common forms of communication -like a fun conversation at the water cooler – which are vital forms of connection and information. You’re not only losing face-to-face time but also feel like you’re losing camaraderie. As with everyone, us, remote workers, need to have contact.
My biggest fear of working from is: out of sight, out of mind. I don’t want my colleagues to forget I’m here and, as a result, to not involve me in company activities or projects or decisions. Being left out of the loop is one of the worst feelings when working from home. Not receiving any information or updates on the company you work for and no recognition from others for your outstanding work is difficult to handle as well.
While you won’t always be able to get that face-to-face time if you’re working from home, here are six tips to help you stay in contact with clients and colleagues.
1. Be available
Let your colleagues know you’re available to talk in case they have questions or just want to chat with you and see what you’re up to. During work hours, login into your favourite chat tools, whether it’s Skype, Google Hangout or some other tool the company you work for is using. Skype is available for free, but if you need HD conferencing, or a wider package of productivity tools, then there is an enhanced version of the Skype app available with Office 365.
However, keep in mind that while these can make communication more efficient, they can also be distracting, pulling you out of a ‘flow’ mode. So, make sure you do touch base with them to get that personal interaction you need but without overdoing it.
2. Make it easy for them to contact you
Your colleagues might need to talk to you urgently, either to fix an issue or answer a question quickly. Make it easy for them to contact you. Let them know how they can get in touch with you, whether it’s by email, telephone number, Twitter or LinkedIn. Give them choices so they can use their favourite channel to communicate with you.
3. Show you’re trustworthy
In addition, set up weekly calls with your colleagues to discuss projects you’re collaborating on and catch up. Even if there hasn’t been a breakthrough the previous week, you should still have that weekly call. You can just brainstorm ideas or discuss how a project is going or the difficulties you’ve encountered with a certain task or project.
4. Keep updated
Want to find out what’s new in the company? Ask your manager and colleagues for updates on a weekly basis. Don’t be afraid to ask them to keep you in the loop. This way you’re not only staying in contact with them but also with the happenings in the company.
5. Be the one who initiates contact
Don’t sit around waiting for your colleagues to contact you. You’re the one who is working remotely so instead, be the one who initiates contact and keeps the relationship going. If you want to stay in contact, it’s up to you to make the first move.
6. Show sincere appreciation
Whenever a colleague helps you with a project, don’t forget to send him an email to thank him and show you appreciate his/ her help. Acknowledging your colleagues’ skills is a great way to keep a relationship strong.
Bonus: Make the time to communicate…
As a remote worker, you need to think of communication as a daily task and build it into your schedule. It can be an hour set aside for replying to emails or 30 minutes for a Skype call. If you’re organised about it, it won’t take too much of your time so you can still work on tasks that are demanding your attention. But if you don’t make time to communicate and ignore your colleagues, you will be out of sight and out of mind.