While the hybrid workplace certainly has its advantages, such as increased organizational productivity and higher employee retention, not being together in person can make building work relationships challenging. Employees with positive relationships at work are more likely to be happy and stay for the long term. For this reason, it’s important for managers to make sure their team members are building rapport with their coworkers. Here are some practical ideas for building relationships in the workplace to help you get started.
1. Encourage Virtual Watercooler Chat
Just because your team isn’t in the office as often doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to watercooler conversations. Encourage relationship-building chit-chat among employees by starting various themed Slack channels on topics such as Netflix, Movies, and Pets. Take an active role in these groups yourself to get the ball rolling.
2. Make Virtual Meetups a Regular Habit
Encourage your team to invite another employee to virtual afternoon coffee or lunch at least once a week. It’s a great opportunity for your team members to step away and clear their heads as well as build rapport with others.
If your team uses Slack, consider adding Donut, an add-on that helps build rapport between randomly selected users through the use of daily conversation prompts. It also encourages interactions such as in-person and virtual meetups — a great way for employees to get to know each other and make new team members feel welcome.
3. Make the Most of Your In-Office Time
When your team is in the office, take advantage of the opportunity to encourage one-on-one interactions, watercooler chat, and team collaboration. Create a team policy of saving one-on-one meetings for the office, and plan your monthly team meetings for days when your whole team is on site. Check out our in-office team building ideas for more tips on facilitating connection and building rapport when your team members are in the office.
4. Utilize Breakout Rooms
Breakout rooms are available in most virtual meeting platforms. This functionality allows you to split your virtual meetings into separate sessions manually or randomly. Especially if you have a larger team, this is a great way to encourage collaboration among your associates for intimate brainstorming sessions or team games.
Building Relationships In the Workplace Takes Time
Just as it does in the office, building work relationships virtually or in a hybrid work setting takes time, so don’t wait to get started with these ideas above. Not only will you help your team find more satisfaction in their jobs, but they may even build meaningful relationships that will last them a lifetime.