Even after nearly a year of lockdowns and mandatory quarantine, remote working can be taxing and isolating. Even though remote work had been steadily increasing in popularity before COVID-19, going from partial remote work to nearly everyone working from home can understandably cause whiplash for even the most well-adjusted of people. Managers have it especially hard because they need to know how to keep their teams connected while working in an otherwise isolated environment; none of this is like working in an office. It’s not impossible, though—here are a few ways you can keep everyone connected while working remotely.

Turn commute time into something new.

There’s no need to worry about commuting to and from work when working from home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out a way to turn that time into something new for your team. Rather than rolling out of bed and hopping straight onto your computer, schedule video chats with your teammates to enjoy coffee with someone before work. Getting your whole team involved will give everyone the chance to socialize with one another when doing so at an office is no longer an option, and you could even learn a thing or two from others during these talks. 

Make video mandatory during meetings.

Remote work has made zoning out during meetings much easier; anyone can just turn off their camera and not pay attention to what’s being talked about over a video call. When meeting in person isn’t an option, making everyone’s video being on mandatory for meetings should be an obvious decision. Voice calls are great, but not seeing someone’s face leads to missing a lot of non-verbal cues during discussions. By having video be mandatory, you can still see people’s facial expressions and non-verbal cues, easing communication between your team.

Video chat can be done even when everyone’s silent.

Who said everyone has to be social while on video chat? Sometimes just having people “around” you can be nice, and while we can’t get that from being in an office anymore, that doesn’t mean the feeling can’t be simulated at home. Feeling like someone is nearby can boost mood, morale, and productivity, and having a video chat open can replicate what we can no longer access: a communal office space.