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August 15, 2014

Building relationships while working remotely

I’ve been working with the Blue Door Consulting team for nearly a year now, and it’s still hard to express the level of both fun and stress that comes along with working in such a fast-paced environment. The relationships I have with the team members I work closely with are solid. We can be brutally honest (a Blue Door must), yet we still have lots of laughs together.

This isn’t out of the norm for many teams, but it can be challenging for those working remotely-which I do. I’ve been in the office only a handful of times, the first of which was months after I was already working with the team. Thus, it was really important for me to get to know my teammates from over 1,000 miles away.

The tips below helped me get to know-and work more effectively with-my team.

  • Set clear expectations and follow standard communication protocol. As we all know, direct, concise communication is key. It allows us to work faster and more efficiently, thereby minimizing frustration among team members.
  • Be an extrovert (even if you’re not). I’m an introvert, and sometimes reaching out is extremely difficult for me. However, I’ve learned that making a Skype® call or phone call instead of emailing can make all the difference in not just making progress on a project, but touching base with how a fellow team member is feeling towards a project (or you!). Taking an extra five minutes helps build camaraderie and lets you feel more connected.
  • Take interest in your fellow teammates and open up to them. Once you’ve reached out to call or Skype, give a few moments to ask how they are-or really open up when they ask you. It builds trust and helps strengthens relationships.

Keep in mind the above tips are an ongoing effort. At times I notice I’ve been a bit withdrawn or too focused on the work, which means it’s time to reengage and connect with those on my team. It’s a consistent effort that’s well worth it; not to mention, at times hysterical.