How to Get to Know Your Coworkers When You Haven’t Met Them in Person

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.

The global pandemic has forced countless employees to work remotely, and in doing so, it has also given people room to consider whether they’re living in the best possible location. According to a recent Upwork survey, 23 million people could be planning to move from big cities to less populated areas thanks to the newly widespread availability of remote work opportunities.

As more people make moves and more companies shift to remote work, new workplace challenges related to culture and relationship-building are arising. A recent FinanceBuzz survey found that 46 percent percent of US remote workers feel isolated and 49 percent feel it’s harder to build relationships with coworkers when working remotely.

It may seem difficult to develop personal relationships with coworkers you haven’t met face to face, but it’s doable if your company has the right tools and strategies in place.

How to Develop Personal Relationships With Coworkers When You’ve Never Met Them in Person

1. Schedule One-on-One Meetings With Your New Colleagues

It may not be possible to meet everyone in your company, but hopping on a quick one-on-one meeting with a new colleague can go a long way in helping build a team community. You get to learn more about the company from an experienced colleague, while both of you get to know each other a little more.

This initial point of contact can make it easier for coworkers to reach out to each other going forward, whether it’s for a job-related question or some non-work banter. Overall, it’s an excellent way to break the ice between and cultivate some familiarity, even when you’re not in the same room.

2. Use the Right Tools

The right resources and tools can provide opportunities for remote coworkers to get to know each other and build relationships while working together to achieve common goals. Remote work tools like Slack and Zoom make it easy to talk with coworkers in real time through private messages or video calls. These tools also provide ways to engage in fun, everyday conversations, whether it’s a specific “water cooler” channel in Slack or a weekly team meeting on Zoom.

3. Suggest Opportunities to Connect

To promote more opportunities to connect, suggest low-key activities anyone can participate in. These may include weekly remote coffee talks, virtual lunches, or regular trivia contests.

Slack channels are especially helpful for creating spaces in which you can interact with coworkers about common interests. Popular slack channel options include music, TV shows and movies, books, recipes, and more. These casual connections can help you thrive in a remote role instead of feeling isolated.

Check out the latest issue of Magazine for more career advice and recruiting trends:

4. Communicate Intentionally

It’s easy to refrain from company conversations when you work remotely. You don’t have other employees passing by your workspace or chatting in the break room. This is why it’s essential to intentionally initiate communication through the available channels.

Make it a goal to talk to your coworkers regularly, even if you’re not 100 percent comfortable doing so. Be curious about your fellow employees. Ask them what they like to do outside of work and inquire about their hobbies and side hustles. Being proactive with communication can create friendly ties and a more comfortable working environment for everyone.

5. Brainstorm Ways to Collaborate on Your Own Team or Across Teams

You don’t have to come up with ideas to connect with coworkers by yourself. Get the whole team involved. Team meetings are an ideal setting for brainstorming about ways your team can better connect with each other and other teams at the company. The exercise itself may even help build relationships!

6. Participate in Team-Building Activities

If your company hosts team-building activities, make it a point to participate. Virtual experiences, costume contests, gift exchanges, and other activities are perfect ways to get to know your coworkers in a low-stakes environment.

During a time where face-to-face social interactions can be few and far between, your coworkers can be some of the most important relationships in your life, even if you never meet them in person. Make human connections a priority in the workplace, and you can help foster a company culture where everyone feels welcome. Plus, you’ll simply enjoy your workday more when you like the people you work with.

Ben Walker is a credit card and travel writer at FinanceBuzz.

By Ben Walker