Valérie Fernandez

By Valérie Fernandez

April 8, 2021


Fostering friendships at work …even remotely

For most of us, work offers the opportunity to socialize with our coworkers. We are weaving relationships that go beyond our professional setting. According to a survey conducted by American researchers, over 80% of people considered they had at least one friend at work.

The strong ties that we forge are not only critical in motivating us, but they’re also good for our health; however, during the pandemic, teleworking has often deprived us of the informal interactions we had with our coworkers. Here are some tips to strengthen those ties, which have become more important than ever.

Positive workplace impact

A number of studies has shown the importance of nurturing the interpersonal relationships we have with our co-workers. According to the Association paritaire pour la santé et la sécurité du travail, there are a number of positive benefits:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Reduction of stress and frustration
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Mutual aid and support to overcome difficult times
  • Feeling of control over our work and heightened job performance
  • Feeling of belonging and personal motivation

What’s more, these ties can benefit our physical health, driving away certain types of cancers and risks of cardiovascular problems. So why deprive ourselves? It’s not surprising that despite the benefits of teleworking, a third of workers would willingly return to the office!

Maintain team meetings

Communication strengthens our community spirit. The interaction we have with our coworkers, i.e. concern for others, nurtures the feeling that we form a united team.

Here are a few tips to add a human touch to your online meetings:

  • Make time at the start of the meeting to see how everyone is doing and see who might be going through a difficult time.
  • Decide on a topic related to the problem and discuss it for several minutes to find solutions and work through it together. What challenges are you dealing with at the moment? What worries you the most? What is your average day like? How do you stay motivated and productive?
  • Do a round table so that your coworkers can talk about something they accomplished that week, their priority for the day, or something that might be preventing them from making progress on a project.

Maximize good times in virtual mode

Remember to continue to celebrate your successes, highlight events and plan an informal cocktail from time to time, for example, with your coworkers. Here are ways to celebrate these important events in virtual mode to help strengthen your ties:

  • Plan virtual happy hours: You can plan a virtual team get-together with your coworkers to sip a glass of wine, cocktail or a mocktail and chat in an informal setting. You can also decide to all chip in and have your favourite appetizers or meals delivered to your home and enjoy your meal as you chat with your coworkers.
  • Plan online group activities: wine tasting, cooking classes, breathing workshops, physical activity, stress management classes, conferences, training, etc. A number of companies are thinking outside the box to offer innovative services remotely… Let’s support them!
  • Is one of your coworkers celebrating a birthday? Have a birthday meal or cake delivered to his or her home, plan a time to highlight that person’s special day by singing and toasting to his or her good health.
  • Share some of your tips to fight the boredom and to get through this period more seamlessly: list of restaurants offering delivery or takeout, fun television series or movies, recipes to try, online shows, ideas to foster work-life balance, etc.
  • Introduce coffee breaks at set times where members of the company can get together via videoconference. This would enable people to get together and chat with other coworkers they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to do otherwise.
  • Organize team building activities: “Two truths and a lie”, “10 things in common”, “What to bring on a deserted island”, etc.

Staying united despite the obstacles to help us live better!

Maintaining the ties we forged with our communities while teleworking becomes a question of ensuring balance in our lives. Our coworkers are part of our “ecosystem” to help us live better. Let’s not forget the important role they play!

Want to encourage your employees to adopt healthy lifestyle habits?

Discover the VIVA workplace health and wellness program.

Visit our website

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