One of the biggest advantages of working in the office is meeting and connecting with your colleagues. For most of us, our work friends act like family or a close friend. While workplace friendships help the overall well-being of an employee, they also play a key role in improving a team’s success. So, how do you maintain a healthy work friendship on a remote team?   

Leaders can encourage friendships within their remote teams by acknowledging and emphasizing the importance of making human connections and relationships, especially while working from home. Employers can talk about their own experiences of how having a work friendship has helped them through their career and successes. They can also hold and highlight virtual events that allow employees to feel more connected to their colleagues. 

Leaders can also encourage friendships by assigning two people, instead of one, to a task. This allows two employees who wouldn’t normally work with each other a chance to bond. This would typically work best for two employees who aren’t familiar with each other. The goal of this task is to give the two employees a common ground and improve their relationship-building skills. 

Before the pandemic, many employees would take coffee or lunch breaks together to vent or catch-up. This would allow employees to destress from the pressure of the workday. As an employer, you can encourage your employees to take a virtual coffee or water-cooler break. Taking a 10-minute break to grab a virtual coffee with a colleague can revitalize new ideas and their mental state but also give your employees the chance to build rewarding friendships.  

Finally, always remember to check-in. Covid-19 has left a tremendous amount of stress to many family and friends. That being said, a simple “How are you doing” can be more meaningful to someone who may not be in a good mental health state. Further, you can show sensibility by asking the colleague if there is anything you can do to help. As many of us continue to work remotely, try to focus on new and innovative ways to stay connected, and develop strong relationships. Not only are connections and community part of human nature, but they are also just as important as maintaining high productivity.