If you’re working from home right now and you’re a new employee, you may be finding it hard to form friendships with your coworkers. It’s difficult to create a bond with someone when you can’t see that person face-to-face, chat in the hallway, eat lunch together, or interact on a daily basis. And that’s really unfortunate, because work friends are important. Research indicates that work friends help to make us more productive, focused, happy, healthy, and engaged.

But don’t worry. It really IS possible to form friendships from a distance. You can do it. It just takes some planning and determination. Here are a few tips:

  • Create a plan – Unfortunately, you can’t strike up a conversation with someone while walking down a hallway together or sitting next to each other in a meeting. When you’re working from home, these natural interactions don’t happen. So you need to make a plan. Commit to interacting with your coworkers (about things other than work) at least a couple times a week.
  • Find time to talk – Find opportunities to interact with your coworkers. If you’re having a meeting with a coworker over the phone, take a little time to chat. Or, if you’re feeling really brave, invite a coworker to have a “virtual lunch” with you. Be honest with your coworker, and explain that you’re feeling a little isolated because you’re new to the organization. The person will probably be more than happy to spend some time with you.
  • Share your interests – Be open about the things that you enjoy. Before a meeting starts or at the end of an email, you might mention that you’re going to be taking your dog for a long walk after work, starting a new home improvement project, or watching a movie that’s just been released. Let your coworkers know about the things that you’re interested in, and they’ll feel more connected to you. You’ll also have things to discuss, other than work.
  • Learn about your coworkers – You should also make an effort to learn about your coworkers’ interests outside the office. Try to remember the things they tell you, and then ask about those things later.
  • Be helpful – If you can do something nice for one of your coworkers, you should do it. Your small, generous acts will earn you the goodwill of your coworkers, and will also make you feel good about yourself. In addition, your coworkers will be more interested in getting to know you better.

Markman, A. (2020, June 16). How to become friends with your coworkers while working remotely. Fast Company. Retrieved from: https://www.fastcompany.com/90516285/how-to-become-friends-with-your-coworkers-while-working-remotely

Vozza, S. (2020, September 21). How to make friends with coworkers when everyone’s working from home. Fast Company. Retrieved from: https://www.fastcompany.com/90550709/how-to-make-friends-with-coworkers-when-everyones-working-from-home