Maintaining Strong Business Relationships While Working Remotely

Remote work has brought great conveniences to the corporate world but with the decrease in day-to-day interactions and socialization, it also brings a new set of challenges. Maintaining strong business relationships while working remotely is a necessary to step towards continued success.

A loss of interaction, lack of team building, and an isolated work environment can make us feel disconnected or isolated as business owners. Don’t let your colleagues become a set of names and icons, unable to establish themselves as part of the team.

Here we provide direct solutions to the challenge many remote employees face. Read on for tips on how to reconnect and feel more comfortable in your remote work environment.

10 Tips to Maintain Business Relationships in a Remote Environment

Based on the nature of your role and your company’s operations, try a sampling of our tips below and let us know what works for you. 

1. Work Synchronous Hours

There are pros and cons to flexible hours. Using time zones to your advantage is a great source of freedom, flexibility, and work-life balance. However, being online simultaneously is one way to feel like you’re working as a team. Rather than varying work hours, plan with a group of colleagues or team members to work within a specific time. Test what works best for your team – a few hours of overlap may be all you need!

Working similar hours not only gives you (virtual) company; you’ll also have help and potential real time answers just a message away. Imagine your email or IM as the virtual cubicle drive-by for a quick answer! You’ll form closer relationships and learn how best to support each other.

2. Communicate Often and Do It Well

One tip that’s often overlooked but always repeated is polishing your communication skills. Be intentional, concise and clear when speaking to others, whether through emails or Zoom calls. 

Leave no room for ambiguities; give the necessary details in a friendly and professional tone. State your questions clearly and succinctly, and ask any necessary follow-ups. Send a recap email following the conversation to ensure understanding and keep everyone on the same page.

Note: jokes and sarcasm may not translate well over a call or email unless you’re familiar with the other party, so it’s best to keep them to a minimum.

Effective communication helps you feel heard and understood, making the process easier for the listeners. But don’t forget to return the favor and pay attention when others speak. Communication is a two-way street.

3. Choose Video Over Writing 

Zoom and other video call platforms have greatly improved as their demand increased. A video conference is now immersive and entertaining, using fun features such as filters, backgrounds, sharing, and even games. 

Evaluate the best time to use video or audio calls over email, as they can allow for more interaction and active participation in discussions. Take advantage of opportunities to build relationships with a quick call. You’ll have more fun and work collaboratively, opening the possibility of future collaborations as well.  

4. Get To Know Your Team

From small companies to large corporations, you’re likely to have colleagues working remotely or from a different location. After initial introductions, find ways to get to know each other and build work friendships. 

Join each other for virtual coffee breaks and weekly check-ins. These interactions are important in maintaining business relationships because they bring a human touch to your work and help you stay updated with your partners. It’s also a great opportunity to find strong mentors and potentially, some lifelong friends!

5. Don’t Miss Your Meetings

Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly occurrence, one-on-one, team-only, or full house attendance, don’t miss out on these chances to interact with others. By taking an active part, you’ll get noticed by others, make positive impressions and gain more invitations to collaborate.

But it’s important to have balance. Work with your team and leadership to identify unnecessary meetings so you can make the most of those that remain. Use your first few minutes to catch up with the individual or group and be sure to clear up concerns before the final goodbyes. Be reliable by completing takeaways in a timely manner and scheduling follow-ups as needed. Be the type of colleague you would like to work with!

6. Build Work Culture with Relaxed Virtual Events

Many companies use virtual events or an annual retreat as a way to build company culture, but if they haven’t, you can take the initiative by pitching the idea to the appropriate colleagues, be it an events team, human resources, team management or your leadership.

You’re likely not the only employee working remotely, and not the only one seeking to build business relationships virtually. Make it easier for yourself and others to introduce themselves on a more personal level or have some time for small talk. Participate in company groups if they’re available or help plan a virtual team lunch or happy hour. Use fun virtual games and other discussion topics to keep things light and fun while getting to know each other!

7. Let Others Know Your Availability 

It’s important to get your work done, but you shouldn’t always be head down at your desk. There are often moments when leadership, senior employees, or other personnel are looking for someone to help them out or join them in a task.

If they’re under the impression you’re swamped with work or not open to additional opportunities, you’ll miss out on the invite. Communicate your working hours, capacity, and openness to projects so others feel confident in reaching out with invites. You can even close out the day enjoying a happy hour or quick bite with your colleagues!

8. Use a Shared Work Space

A shared work space, or co-work, is often an open office where you can book a workstation. These areas have charging ports, cafeterias, call rooms and other necessary services. You can choose to work in a secluded or joined space, or even book a larger office for meetings or team coworking.

If your company has other remote workers in your area, invite them to join you at a location convenient to all. It helps you create a mini-office environment with a relaxed setting and plenty of company. 

9. Participate in Company Events

One way to network, especially in a remote position, is by joining company events. They allow you to build relationships with your immediate seniors and other experts in the field. 

Find leaders, mentors, or sponsors who increase your exposure, help you feel connected, and champion your name in the right circles. Meeting the right people is just the start – make sure your actions and work deliverables make you a person worth championing!

10. Stay Active on Professional Networks

Apart from your immediate colleagues, plenty of professionals in your field are worth contacting. You can make healthy connections on LinkedIn and attend any events you find interesting as well. See if your college, university, or other organization offers alumni networks and connect with like-minded people. Find industry events in your area and use them as a way to explore your town while meeting new faces.

In a Nutshell

Don’t get stuck as just a name on the screen. To build, nurture, and maintain strong business relationships, you’ll need to take action and put in the effort. Place yourself where there are opportunities to intermingle and make a good impression.

Are you struggling with the shift to remote work? With over 6 years of fully remote experience, I have various tried and true solutions to help you adjust to your new professional life. For any questions or advice, feel free to reach out or comment below!

Hi I'm Nicole

Struggling in your work environment? Need to streamline your processes? Is your work-life balance unbalanced?

We’d love to help you overcome any work challenge you’re facing! Contact us to set up a free consultation to discuss how we can help.

Nicole Hudson Signature

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