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The Simple Way to Make Work Friends When You’re Remote
By: upwork.com Posted On: January 18, 2020 View: 13

The Simple Way to Make Work Friends When You’re Remote


Work is increasingly being done away from the office, something that can have numerous benefits for companies and workers alike—but maybe not for your social life. Time spent in the office helps foster strong relationships, which in turn can leave us feeling happier, less stressed, and more recharged.

In contrast, working alone could be fuelling a mental health crisis: a report on remote work by Buffer found that 49 percent of remote workers said their biggest struggle was wellness-related. One in five said they feel lonely.

How do you address that when your closest physical colleague is a cat?
By learning how to make friends digitally.

A group of researchers recently tested this and shared the results in an article for Harvard Business Review. Through interviews with people who work remotely at least 50 percent of the time, the researchers identified something they call cadence.

The team wrote:

“Remote workers feel like they have cadence with a coworker when they understand who that person is and can predict how they will interact with them. Cadence is especially important when we work virtually because it helps us anticipate when we will interact with our virtual coworkers and how those interactions will go, things that are much easier to do when communicating face-to-face.”

What does it take to help establish cadence?
It turns out it doesn’t take much to get the ball rolling.

First, you need to lay a solid foundation:

  • Be a reliable work partner
  • Respond to messages in a timely manner

“Then, take a leap when you sense friendship potential: reach out to the coworker to share something a little more personal or to tell them a funny story,” they suggested. “In our experience, small actions like these can unlock a rich friendship.”

Learn more about how remote workers make work friends.

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