how can we help teams feel connected when people are working remotely?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

I’m in a development/leadership training cohort, tasked with coming up with an online library/toolkit around creating greater feeling of connection (think engagement and team-building activities designed for both in-office and hybrid teams).

I’m curious to hear from readers what their organizations have done to promote staff connectedness/togetherness while in a hybrid model (some form of folks in the office a couple of days and working remote a couple of days, and/or some fully remote/fully in office).

Readers, what’s your team doing on this front that’s working? Please share in the comments.

{ 249 comments… read them below }

  1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    I think having a chat mechanism is really helpful, whether it’s slack or something else. My company also does once a month calls with folks that are outside your team. They usually have a topic, but it gives you a chance to get to know and talk to people you might not necessarily overlap with day-to-day.

    1. Alex the Alchemist*

      Agreed on the chat thing. My old job had a Slack channel just for like funny memes, pet pics, etc. (we kept it work-appropriate obviously) and it helped us have like a virtual break room where we could chat about our days and share things we thought would make everyone laugh.

      1. PotteryYarn*

        We have a Teams chat for the same purpose. Kid/pet pics, funny memes, weird news, etc. The original channel was created prepandemic for when we got off-topic on the main channels and it ended up burying our actual work messages from time to time, but it’s been a great place for us to connect as a team in the last couple years, especially as we’ve added new employees who don’t get a lot of facetime with the half of the department that’s fully (or nearly fully) remote.

        1. Baby Yoda*

          Us too on using Teams– it stays open all day so our team can chat and compare notes. And post silly memes, of course.

        2. JustaTech*

          I have been begging for this since March 2020, so far all I got was a locked channel for the social committee (useful, but not what I was asking for *at all*). The challenge I’ve had is that the ability to make new channels is limited to senior management, who doesn’t see the point.

          But now that we have an official committee for communication and community I think I’ll have more success. (That and our department’s EA now has the ability to make channels and I think she gets what I’m going for.)

          1. Em*

            New CHANNELS are difficult in Teams, but a single chat isn’t and can be used to the same effect with a little maintenance. The Add Participants option does not have an upper limit that I’ve encountered — I’m part of a “social” chat with about 120 members, which works very well for us. The person in charge of onboarding new colleagues (me, at the moment) adds them when they start training, along with a “hey everyone, please welcome X, Y, and Z!” note in the chat.

      2. ferrina*

        Yes! OldJob also had a few random Slack channels- one for music, one for pets, etc. It’s was really fun.

      3. QA Peon*

        Yup, we have a slack channel called “TKC” which stands for The Kitten Channel. Another one called Awesomesauce. It’s fun.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            Awww! One of my previous employers had a #pets-of-$employer channel and there were a lot of great pet pics. But TKC sounds awesome!

      4. Spearmint*

        I wish my office did something like that. We have Teams but it’s strictly used for work purposes even though there’s no policy requiring that. As a result people mostly communicate in private text groups, which makes it hard to connect with coworkers if you’re not friends with them.

        1. BubbleTea*

          We created one ourselves, and it’s still fairly lively despite a lot of people being back on the office at least some of the time.

      5. Pippin*

        We have a Slack channel that is purely social. On Tuesday, 1 person starts a fun topic for discussion (what are you most looking forward to this Fall, where is your dream vacation etc). On Thursdays we have trivia. It really has helped us get to know each other, especially the people that started during the pandemic. We’re hybrid now, but still use it the same way

      6. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        My old job had IRC before everything switched to Slack and later (after my time there) Teams. It was an aggressively text-only environment but we had fun with it.

        One team not only had their official casual chat environment on it, but had a monitor displaying the channel using Microsoft Comic Chat in the common area.

        At one point there was a company-wide technical emergency that involved everyone having to swap out their security dongles within the space of about a week, and someone started a breakout room to find levity in the situation using baked goods. #cupcake kept going strong long after the situation was resolved, and legend has it you can still find company there for some complaints about company technology going sour or chatting about baked goods.

    2. Fluffy Initiative*

      My old company had a few social channels where people could pop in and out and participate as much or as little as they wanted. Ones we had were a Pets channel, a Playlist channel (people shared what they were listening to, sometimes there was a “theme day” that organically happened), a food & recipes channel, and a general “sunshine” channel for jokes, cute stories, memes, Weekly Wins, stuff like that.
      It really helped people build relationships with folks on other teams and offices, as well as helping to break up the day a bit to see what someone else was listening to or having for lunch.

    3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Agreed. We use Teams, but among my group it really has become a replacement for the normal personal chatter we would do in the office…sports, plants, family, etc. I love being able to use a meme to convey my thoughts and emotions.

      1. Baby Yoda*

        Exactly. It’s funny but my husband comments I never interact with coworkers anymore– he just doesn’t hear all of our silliness posting in Teams.

        1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

          I call them modern hieroglyphics. Why write or speak a dozen words when one carefully chosen table flip gif tells the story.

    4. Other Alice*

      “whether it’s slack or something else”
      Caveat that not all messaging apps are created equal. We recently moved to Teams which I hate. Its most recent bug is some people always appear offline, which is a huge issue when I’m not in the office to see who’s actually around. It’s making me feel a lot more disconnected from the rest of the team. Fingers crossed IT will resolve the bug soon.

      1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        We make a joke of it. Who has what colored dot, even as we’re actively chatting.

        1. NotARacoonKeeper*

          Weird! We’ve been on Teams since June 2020, and we have never noticed anything like this. And I’m leading our Teams adoption strategy, so I definitely have heard about it! it just links to our Outlook calendar status, and goes yellow when you’re away.

          1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

            Microsoft 365 had a world-wide outage in July 2022 — “5-hour-long Microsoft 365 worldwide outage was triggered by a faulty Enterprise Configuration Service (ECS) deployment that led to cascading failures and availability impact across multiple regions.” Ever since then it’s been really buggy. I’m not an IT expert, but if you don’t use the enterprise level of 365, maybe you aren’t affected by it, or you just got lucky, IDK. I have to quit and restart Teams and Outlook at least once a day to clear my status.

            1. Ama*

              At our office we just don’t pay any attention to the Team availability statuses — we use it more like text messaging where if you have a quick sec to respond, you’ll probably see it faster than an email but if you’re busy you can just respond when you have time.

              Although I have occasionally had to ask a colleague to stop sending me a long list of questions via Teams and put it in an email instead (especially the coworker who never seems to look back at previous messages before asking the same question again — it’s easier for me to find things in email if I think “wait didn’t I already answer this question for you last week?”).

          2. Prospect gone bad*

            Exactly, it always is pretty accurate. 99% of the time it said away, the person has been away. I heard one person telling me their status gets broken, but magically when we were in the office together one day, it was green the entire day. So I guess the glitch fixed itself that day lol

          3. Kimmybear*

            MS had an alert about it over the summer and said it was resolved but we saw the issue for weeks before and after that. YMMV

      2. Curmudgeon in California*

        Zoom chat is pathetic compared to Slack, and Teams is worse than Zoom IMO. I still am a fan of IRC with the ability to post pictures.

    5. Just a Manager*

      We have a group chat for our team of eight. We say good morning to each other, and good evening. Throughout the day, a team member might ask a question or request help. We share gifs, memes, debate avocados, and types of coffee. It really connects the whole team.

    6. Quinalla*

      Yeah, we use Teams and have lots of channels/group chats and have some that are for more casual chatting/memes/gifs and others strictly work focused.

      We also have some in-person only activities (though pictures are shared, etc. so all can feel at least a little bit a part of it), some hybrid activities (lunch & learns and other activities where in-office folks can go to a big conference room and everyone else uses Teams) and online-only activities (various online games – Among Us, virtual puzzles, FPS, etc., Trivia games, etc.). I think it is important to try to have all three to be as inclusive as possible and to make them truly voluntary to attend and to have some during the workday and some not as well.

      We also make a point to allow for a few minutes at the beginning or end of meetings for some chat time, breakout rooms can help with this in big meetings especially. And sometimes will set up groups to eat lunch together. We also make a point to do a lot of one-on-one calls/video chats to keep people connected. You have to make more of an effort on this front when not everyone is in the office.

    7. nnn*


      We have a Teams chat for casual chat (helpful tech tips, useful resources, casual chat, cute animal pics).

      It’s particularly useful because people can interact according to their own needs – you can keep the chat open and reply to everything, or pop in when you have something to say and then leave, or mute the whole thing and focus on your work. So everyone can receive maximum benefit and minimum burden.

    8. Chauncy Gardener*

      Slack. WorkPlace. Monthly Zoom company meetings with plenty of time for small group icebreakers. Quarterly Zoom happy hours. Annual in person department meetings (not mandatory if folks are uncomfortable being in person). One annual whole company meeting in person.
      Plus the CEO and CFO reach out to connect with individual employees at least quarterly

    9. Parakeet*

      Yeah, a private channel specifically for our team is nice for building team rapport, as is assuming a certain amount of optional chitchat time at the end of 1:1 meetings.

      Org-wide, there’s also opt-in channels for pet discussion, news, etc.

    10. Brain the Brian*

      I absolutely dread such channels. I feel obligated to answer, or like I will be judged if I take too long to answer, or like someone will criticize me if I answer their meme post in the funny channel before their work post in the work one. Gah.

    11. Curmudgeon in California*

      Definitely agree on the chat, including having “semi-social” channels like #sports or #watercooler or even #pets. Yes, people still need to be professional, and you don’t want channels like #politics, but casual chat helps create connections based on common interests.

      At $job-2 I still remember one CSO who had a reputation as a hard nosed, cold fish… until he got a corgi and posted lots of pics with him and his pup, and later him, his fiancee and their “his and hers” dogs. It wasn’t fake – he loved his dog, and his dog helped him unbend quite a bit.

      I am still working on my current job to get more banter going back and forth in our group chat. It’s funny, because I never thought of myself as a “social leader”, but I’m taking on that role.

  2. L-squared*

    One thing to look out for, because it happens in my company, make sure you take into account the in person people. In my company, I’m one of the people who has to go into to the office, so I get plenty of face time and connectedness to coworkers. So while I think the remote people enjoy the chance to catch up with people since they are often siloed and doing their own thing, the in person people just feel that its one more stupid thing they have to do. It doesn’t help that often the in person people get the short end of the stick, but then they add stuff like this on for everyone.

    For the above reason, I’d really suggest making these things optional, and not seeming like another meeting people have to go to. Even if it is during work hours

    1. Not really antisocial. Just anti waste time*

      All optional! Even for the remote people- some of us don’t want to spend any extra time we don’t have to

      1. JM60*

        Agreed. I don’t really care to feel connected to others at work. So long as others aren’t actively rude to me, whether I feel connected to others at work hardly affects my job satisfaction or performance. On the other hand, forced or pressured social activities at work can decrease my job satisfaction.

        1. LawBee*

          Same. I don’t work remote but I am in a satellite office – seven of us in a firm of over 150 people total.

          I don’t need to feel connected to the people in the main office on any level beyond the work we do. I’m friendly with the people I see here but I honestly don’t care what’s going on seven states away. If our monthly cheerleader meetings were optional, I would definitely opt out.

    2. Lenora Rose*

      I totally agree with making everything social optional, but in some places, the in-person people feel like they get all the social time…. but never get to know the people working from home specifically because they get this “I already have social time/see everyone” effect. They literally do not know half their coworkers, but because they *do* know half their coworkers they feel less inclined to actually meet the rest. So a few activities that intentionally bridge the gap are good.

      This can also happen with overly separated teams who work in person, but then at least you tend to be aware of the “There are other people in this business” in a conscious way; you see them in the hall or parking lot. (And I still think activities that bridge the gaps can help.)

      (I am an in-person person.)

      1. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

        Sure, but only knowing half your coworkers is…probably fine? The goal of having a job isn’t to know everyone you work with, it’s just that knowing who you work with can help you enjoy doing your job.

        If I had to work onsite, and felt happy about my report with the other onsite folks, I’d probably be annoyed to be forced into a big group playdate just to get to know people I don’t interact with.

        1. L-squared*

          This is exactly how I feel. Its a forced playdate to make the remote people (who frankly have it a lot better anyway IMO) feel more connected. But I feel that already.

            1. L-squared*

              Yes, I get that. And I’m not saying the idea of it is bad, but that is why I’m saying make it optional. And if the in person people don’t want to go, that should be ok.

            2. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

              But telling employees their time and autonomy aren’t respected, and they’re required to perform personal investments they don’t desire, hurts retention.

          1. Keyboard Jockey*

            I’d argue that the more significant benefit is actually that when you need to have a hard conversation with someone about work, you have a relationship to fall back on. It’s so much harder to give feedback or raise problems when you have no context for a person beyond an icon on a screen.

        2. Annie*

          I do think part of this is the line between other people who work at your company, though, and your coworkers. On teams or on cross-functional projects, it’s fairly unlikely for someone to really need to only interact and develop a solid foundational relationship with the people in the same remote-work status as them.

          1. L-squared*

            That is true, and I’m not denying that I wouldn’t ever need to speak to anyone outside of the office. But, this forced social interaction isn’t the only time I ever speak to them.

            Again, i’m not saying these events are bad on their own, just that they should be optional, especially for people already in the office

        3. Lenora Rose*

          Sure, but the dividing line is rarely as clear cut as “I only need to know the folks in the office.” And if it is, I would be worried there’s something else wrong with the organization.

          I know have flailed over figuring out who knows about X (A rare task but something that crosses my desk on its way to another department) in a way that might be less likely to happen if I had a bit more of an idea who’s who beyond a generic list of names.

          And again, if it really is a total disconnect from your department, then that’s one of several reasons why everything should definitely be 100% optional.

      2. L-squared*

        I mean, yeah, I get that. But I also think, especially if you have a company with a mix of in person and remote, you’ll never really know ALL of your coworkers. So if I know half my coworkers very well, I’m probably still doing better than the remote people.

        That said, if I’m getting all that social time, I don’t know that you need to foist more upon me. The remote people have chosen to be remote, and if they have less interaction with their coworkers, they make up for that in MANY other ways.

      3. Wants Green Things*

        My whole office is in person 3 days a week and I barely know the people who sit in the cubicles next to me, let alone on the other side of the office. And yet, I manage to know who I need to talk to about what just fine, since my project managers are good at directing people to others as needed.

        I know my coworkers at other offices in other states *better* than I know the people here, simply because I work them a lot. Being in the same physical space has had little impact.

        1. JustaTech*

          Oh man, I wish any of the PMs I’ve worked with have been able to connect me with the right people! It’s not their fault, they’re all new, and sometimes there’s not really any way that they would know that Bob in Hamster Delivery is also an expert in snake transportation (and I only know that because Bob and I used to work in Bird Bath cleaning together and it came up one time).

          It’s those kinds of things where I feel like knowing/ feeling connected to my coworkers is useful. (Because sometimes it’s not that I know what Bob might know, but I know that Janet knows a lot of stuff and she might know who to ask.)

    3. Rutherford B. Crazy*

      Yep, totally agreed. In my workplace tons of concessions are being made for hybrid/remote staff while in-person staff have had to take on much more to support them. Many of us in person are tired and worn down and, to be honest, a little resentful of the remote workers and how oblivious they are to how the rest of us have been forced into extra work or new job tasks that we didn’t have before in order to accommodate remote workers. Having forced social time events with remote staff would just be one more thing on our plates that doesn’t benefit us as at all but again shows that everything revolves around making remote workers comfortable at the expense of in-person staff’s time.

      1. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

        Especially since the remote workers can all socialize with each other if that’s what they want. We’re basically talking about a company with two office branches; why does everyone in the Scranton branch have to be best buds with everyone in the Arlen branch?

      2. A Person*

        Part of the reason for encouraging social connections between remote and onsite staff is to try to address some of those issues, though. If employees have social connections with each other they’re less likely to be “oblivious” to the work others are doing. People are also more comfortable talking to people they have a social connection to if they need a hand with something or have questions, and if all those questions go to onsite staff because the remote staff are “out of sight, out of mind”, it could increase workload for the onsite people.

  3. Coffee and Plants*

    I’ve been working remotely full-time for 6+ years and I still feel very connected to my team, even though we’re almost all in different states. We have monthly broader-team meetings, and I have a short weekly 1:1 with my manager. Beyond that, every now and then our entire team will have an optional team building activity. One month, we did a game show type activity with a gaming company and it was really fun! Another month, the company gave us all credits to a food delivery service so lunch was on them. I also talk to my team on a daily basis so I never feel all that disconnected.

    1. sofar*

      Yes! I work hybrid (2 days home, 3 days in office) and I like the virtual activities we’ve been doing (we recently did a virtual escape room). The reason I like these activities is that they are short (1 hour, or 2 for something really special like the “holiday party”); they are during work hours (ie, 12 to 1 or 4 to 5); and the company covers $30pp to order something for delivery. We usually use third parties to host, and the teams for the activity are totally random so you often end up on teams with people you don’t know yet.

      Before the pandemic, we’d have some kind of quarterly “happy hour,” karaoke or somesuch, and I actually like the virtual stuff better because I don’t have to drive to some cursed bar.

  4. Casual librarian*

    I think allowing more room at the beginning of virtual meetings for chit-chat about weekend/evening activities helps fill the gap that was left empty when we stopped running into each other in the office kitchen or passing in the hall.

    1. Lea*

      We have a morning call and chit chat helps a lot. Teams chats and text chains too.

      It’s also nice to meet in person occasionally so you can actually have dinner together or something even if it’s once a year

    2. ferrina*

      We had a regular weekly meeting where we’d put a 10-15 minute ice breaker on the agenda. It was almost always a silly question- Which Harry Potter house would you be in? If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Would you rather have all traffic lights turn green as you approached, or never stand in a line again?
      It was a short thing to answer, but we’d almost always learn something new about a teammate. (worked especially well since we didn’t all work on the same projects)

      1. Elizabeth*

        We did something similar, and it really was great. We used the Teams Whiteboard for work-appropriate pictionary once and it was one of the greatest things in my work career.

        We also in my small team had a daily standing late-day meeting called “What’s for dinner?” It was just a daily connection scheduled for 10 minutes. Sometimes the call was only a few minutes, and sometimes it was so productive it went much longer. It was a good chance to recap the day while it was fresh like you would over a cube wall, as opposed to trying to remember all the nuance until the next organized staff meeting.

      2. Lenora Rose*

        Just as a note, Harry Potter related themes aren’t as light hearted as they used to be… there was always the issue of the people who just don’t care for a particular bit of pop culture, but now you also have to dance around the rather unpleasant personage at the core of it.

      3. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        Yes, we do this on our team calls as well. I know not all groups enjoy icebreakers, but our team really embraces that time.

      4. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

        My last company did this, and I truly hated it.

        It wasted time, it often brought up pop culture stuff that put me on alert about the people around me (like your Harry Potter example I suppose), or made me feel like a big loner because I didn’t like all the same stuff they did, and we also didn’t really learn anything about each other.

        I’d much rather be asked how I’m doing and what’s going on in my life than tell everyone what kitchen appliance I’m most like and watch them not actually care.

        1. Caramel and Cheddar*

          Yeah, if I’m in an actual meeting and not on a social call, then I’m there for the meeting, not the chit chat. I’d be mad you were wasting my time that I could have spent doing other things. I’m not opposed to chit chat in other contexts, but this would definitely be a know your team thing.

          1. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

            At my old job I was in a working group built to complete a specific task: draft language for performance expectations around a specific topic.

            Scheduling was brutal because everyone’s schedule was so packed, and we could only get an hour at a time, if we were lucky. But we’d still spend 15-20 minutes on the ‘question of the week,’ and not getting through our actual work, and having to schedule an additional meeting.

      5. JM60*

        I personally would dislike a forced ice breaker. I think it would be best to instead use something that’s optional/opt-in.

        1. Malarkey01*

          I’m one of those people that hate icebreakers with the force of a thousand suns. They are so unnatural and ask people weird revealing things. I think open ended questions like did anyone do anything fun this weekend or ohhh I heard Ann got a cat, tell us everything! are much better for organic growth.

    3. Miss Muffet*

      I’ve long worked fully virtual – with team members around the world. This was one of the biggest things we did to gel the teams when we met. Just having a few mins at the beginning of the weekly team meetings for chit chat, or a formal question. One team, we assigned the icebreaker to diff people each week. I put together a powerpoint “quiz” with non-work topics (when was the first ipod made, which superhero has the most movies? that kind of thing) and it was fun. It just makes people remember they work with PEOPLE who have LIVES and you care about them as such. When it’s nothing but business all the time, you just feel like a drone.

    4. Beth*

      Working remote isn’t really all that new. If you worked with vendors or in a company with multiple offices locations doing work by phone and email you’ve already worked with people remotely. Having worked at multiple medium to large companies I don’t really see people working from home as changing too much. (Although I do really enjoy the pet and cute kid sightings.)

      Don’t force people into forced fun…doesn’t work well across the board. I’m in a team that does a question of the week once in a while at the start of a group call that’s easy and non-threatening way to learn about each other – favorite food, dream vacation spot, etc. Sometimes we have people answer via a picture in the meeting chat. We’ve occasionally done a “gif off” where a topic is thrown out and team members each have 30 seconds to find the best gif on that topic and then the team votes via likes in the meeting chat. That one isn’t my favorite but a lot of people seem to enjoy.

    5. Virtual Engager*

      This! I work at a fully remote company at the first 10 minutes of every all-department/team/staff meeting are dedicated to breakout rooms of 2-5 people. The meeting organizer provides an icebreaker question that folks are free to use or disregard. And, importantly, there is always a normalized option to opt-out of breakout rooms and hang out quietly in the main room for that 10 minutes!

    6. AcademiaNut*

      I do a lot of work with international collaborators, and I find that bit of chat (casual, not ice breaker games) at the beginning of the meeting goes a long way. I’m not much of a texting person, and I really dislike meme/gif heavy communication, so that works better than a random chat slack channel.

    7. Informal Educator*

      The extra chat time at the beginning of meetings helps my team, too. For all of the pandemic we’ve had two people in person and two of us remote in different states. The fact that it’s a small team means that we have time for everyone to honestly answer “how’s it going?” It also helps that we all genuinely care about each other as people (even though some of us hadn’t met in person), so I want to know if my co-worker’s kid is sick, my boss’s boat is almost fixed up, or my other co-worker had a great time visiting family over the weekend. I much prefer this unstructured chit chat over the formal ice breakers at the 20+ person all staff meeting about who prefers ketchup or mustard. And I think it’s better for our working relationships, too.

  5. ICode*

    I, too, think having a chart mechanism is helpful. My employer uses Slack, and teams are encouraged to have a Slack channel where individuals can both socialize and ask business questions of their coworkers. It works pretty well for those who tend to be ‘talkative’ this way.

    We’ve also had team lunches on the days when we are in the office (we’re hybrid, but only in the office a few days per month).

    1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      I like having separate Slack channels where the people who like sports can talk about sports and the people who like Dungeons & Dragons can post D&D memes and the people who like music can post links to songs.

  6. Darth Brooks*

    We’ve done virtual escape rooms, played Mafia in zoom meetings, and had optional social meetings where people could just chat and get to know each other. That’s outside of the teams chats, which are crucial for me.

    1. ZoomMafiaMurdererWannabe*

      Oh. My. God. Mafia on zoom is such a good idea and I can’t believe I’m just now hearing about it as a suggestion 2.5 years into this thing! I wanna play that next time I need a zoom activity!!

  7. Provolone Piranha*

    If you use Slack, there are apps that specifically help with this! My company (mostly remote) uses Donuts (sets you up to meet one-on-one with someone outside your department once every 2 weeks) and Tacos (where you send “tacos” as gratitude to people for helping you out, which they can then redeem for charity donations or company merch credit). They also host biannual company parties in different regions. My team does daily EOD calls where we each share a win and loss from the day. All of this has helped me feel connected.

    1. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

      Yes, Donuts are great!

      Though it’s weird when you’re in an environment where everyone’s overworked, because people tend to bail on them. It’s not fun to have 5 months in a row where everyone you’re paired with either fails to schedule a meet-up or cancels at the last minute.

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        I have opted out of our Donuts. I like the idea, but a whole bunch in a row didn’t happen for one reason or another (mostly two-way scheduling apathy) and I found myself getting grouchy toward them. I think our cadence might be too frequent — every other week felt like a lot.

  8. Elle*

    We have a monthly virtual all staff meeting which either features a program in the org or is a professional development presentation. It’s no more then an hour long. Our Microsoft teams is very active with announcements, resources, upcoming events, and HR stuff posted daily. Our staff go into the office once a week. Since March 2020 the company has put more effort into keeping us connected and aware. I know more about what’s going on then before the pandemic.

  9. KHB*

    I don’t have an answer, but I have a follow-up question of sorts: In my experience, an important part of a team’s connectedness is for them to talk about things that management doesn’t necessarily want them talking about – whether that’s comparing wages, sharing their disapproval of management’s decisions, or whatever else. When people notice problems or feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick, it’s important for them to realize that they’re not alone (if indeed they’re not). It feels like this kind of truly open communication among coworkers has gone way down in the era of remote work. Any suggestions as to how to get it back?

    1. Jessica*

      Great point, and the problem with Slack and Teams and Zoom and all the other remote-comms tech is that people aren’t ever quite sure that they’re not being monitored by management.

      1. KHB*

        Exactly. Teams channels for sharing funny memes are all well and good, but most people are not comfortable using “official” work channels to say things like “WTF is the CEO thinking with this TPS report redesign?”

    2. Mouse*

      The only thing I can think of for this is on informal Zooms where the manager isn’t present. Can’t have these things in writing, for sure.

      1. ferrina*

        Yep. I do standing Coffee meetings with the a few other people at my level. We all work on different teams, but face similar issues, so we’re able to compare notes without worrying about it getting back to management.

    3. Less Bread More Taxes*

      This is a good point. My company has very tight control over every communication (it’s in the contract that everything you do on a company laptop is recorded). I feel like I’m usually work appropriate when communicating at work, but I’ve felt extra guarded as a result and haven’t participated in a lot of the chit chat.

    4. Lily Potter*

      It’s a fair point. At a past job where some were remote and others in-office, smarty people used their cell phones for any discussion they didn’t want the boss knowing about.

    5. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      This is where folks have to step out of their comfort zone a bit and exchange personal contacts like cell phone #’s, private social media, create free Zoom or other chat accounts, etc. I use employer Teams for most work socializing, until there is something I want to make sure is private, and then I text or Zoom on personal accounts.

      1. English Rose*

        This is so interesting to me. No way in hell would I ever share personal contact details with colleagues. Not even my manager has my personal cell number (I’m lucky in that I have a work cell, but if I didn’t I’d buy a dumb phone just for that purpose.) But it’s great isn’t it that there are so many opinions and preferences on this topic.

        1. Jess*

          I’m curious about this- can you describe why not? (This sounds like a much stronger reaction than just “eh, I prefer to keep work separate from my personal life”)

          1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

            Someone having your primary personal phone number means they can usually look you up on all sorts of social websites. If you have any kind of non-obvious marginalization, for example, it’s common to connect with others who have that same thing going on and talk fairly unguardedly about it. I’m fairly open on Twitter and other places that I am bisexual, agender, and have some invisible disabilities. My way of guarding myself from random people who might make a problem about this for me in my physical space is to turn off phone number lookup on those sites. I can see someone choosing instead to keep their personal phone number private.

            Companies implementing a “find your contacts” that goes for the whole address book don’t always seem to realize that people who have your phone number may include skeezy colleagues, random delivery people, the plumber who came one time but you got bad vibes and will be finding a different one next time, your estranged ex, and so on.

        2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

          I agree with Jess. I’m not advocating that everyone in your company gets your cell phone number, but not even one or two coworkers you trust — the kind you would have a private, honest conversation about wages, benefits, working conditions, leadership decisions, job searches? I guess if you’re really not interested in those types of conversations you wouldn’t need to share contact info, but if you want that sort of trust between coworkers, then it’s kind of a weird thing to not give them your personal email or phone number, especially in an era where those things are really easy to create, control, block, or change. Being introverted isn’t the same as being misanthropic.

          1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

            I job-hunt and do my personal professional contacts on an extremely boring email address related to my wallet name. Any co-workers who I need to contact privately get to have that address. The co-workers who I’m going to remain friends with afterward get my real personal address.

            With 2 factor authentication, changing your primary phone number means updating all the places that are using it as the second factor, plus giving the new one to all your important contacts.

        3. Making up names is hard*

          My boss has my actual cell from when I applied but once I started I made a Google voice number and that is what she now uses to call/text me, and also what my coworkers have. I like it cause it’s connected to my actual phone but I can screen calls, set up auto to voice mail for certain numbers, and also put it on do not disturb seperate from my actual number. my work doesn’t call or text s ton, but they do a bit, and we have a schedule where our tiny team is staggered so someone is working every day of the week. people can’t always remember each other’s “weekends” especially if there are any changes, so I do sometimes get texts when I’m not working about being late for a meeting.

    6. Emm*

      When I was remote, a few of us would occasionally host an open Zoom call as a sort of co-working office hours space. It started as an informal way to collaborate and share ideas during the worst of lockdown, but over time it became a place for the team to chat without management. That was more or less understood by supervisors, although since it was an open invite, one would sometimes stop by for a few minutes and the vibe would definitely change. So if there’s a way to encourage this virtual co-working time, with the specific support of management as a space just for the team, that might fill that void.

    7. Smithy*

      Because this is communication you don’t want to do on company channels, the ideal “final step” is to have a coworker or group of coworkers you can move to other communication channels (i.e. a group text or facetiming).

      To get to that place, I think it requires building relationships and trust with colleagues that if you’re only engaging with via remote work is harder. Because pre-remote work, those would be in person conversations that you might have with a colleague in a coffee shop – and getting them to share that information with you in writing (even via personal text) is a greater risk on their part.

      Being mindful of all of that – I recommend starting by requesting if your teammates are willing to connect via company Teams/Zoom/Slack for a 3o min “coffee”. Trying to have those once a month with colleagues you’re inclined to like/connect with on monitored channels builds that relationship so that if a policy drops or if you’re struggling with a recent raise/promotion issue – you’re in a different place to say “hey, would you be open to moving our next Coffee to Non-Work Platform?”

      But I think the reality is that actions that led to identifying good/safe people to have these conversations with during in-person work (i.e. getting lunch/coffee/walking to the parking lot/transportation, happy hour) – you need to find ways to invest those initial low effort ways over time via remote means.

    8. Siege*

      We’re unionized, so it’s a totally normal part of life that my unit has each other’s personal emails and phone numbers for this kind of conversation. A few weeks ago, we used that to coordinate a letter of complaint about a coworker (who had enough other complaints against her that our letter didn’t even go to the personnel committee!) and we’ve used it to organize staff-only Zoom happy hours (our boss is present in our weekly social check in because there’s only twelve of us – we don’t exactly have other managers for her to socialize with). Maybe a phone tree, depending on how large a group you’re talking about?

    9. Mid*

      I think scheduling something that’s not over chat and is clearly meant for non-management people would be the best bet. Some organizations record Zoom calls, but I believe that can be turned off. So maybe there could be a monthly “Junior Widgeteers Happy Hour”, or a mentoring program that’s designed to connect more junior workers with more senior, but non-management coworkers, to promote discussions and relationships that people can use to compare notes.

    10. calvin blick*

      That is an amazing point that I haven’t ever seen brought up anywhere. Sometimes it’s just nice to vent a little. Sometimes the venting even leads to improvements.

    11. Gerry Keay*

      Gotta do it off company servers and VPNs unfortunately. I use Signal for encrypted texting with coworkers about sensitive issues and have unofficial Discord for group discussions about work issues among non-managers.

  10. Lacey*

    My office is a combo of people who are fully remote, hybrid, or in the office full time. We also work with offices in three other locations. Some people don’t work with those other locations very often, some of us work with all locations every day.

    Each office has their own in person activities. I don’t know how frequently the other locations get together, but my office does every other month. It’s usually just lunch, but sometimes it’s a class or a party. It’s fully optional, but most people show up for at least half of them.

    Twice a year we do big get togethers with the entire company. They’re usually both during work hours, so no one has to spend non-work time on them.

    That’s pretty much it.

    We have slack groups for daily chit chat, but we had that before the pandemic too and it was used about as much.

  11. Viki*

    One of the things my team does (variously remote/hybrid across Canada) is a weekly gif check in-so one gif to sum up your week and that’s it. It’s a good humorous status update to find the weirdest gif.

    Another thing we have is a once a quarter meal chain. So we each have 20$ from the company to buy someone else on the team a lunch from DoorDash etc and we all get on camera and eat whatever someone ordered for us.

    My team did spend the first month in a high trust workshop session, as we work Network in telecoms which is a high stress, high pressure work and that worked really well.

    We also have synced in camera/in office days–so if people are in office, everyone is on camera for all the meetings.

    1. Moira Rose's Closet*

      I’m really curious about the “high trust workshop session,” as I also work in a stressful, high-pressure environment where the stakes are sometimes life and death, and trust is very low on my team. What did the session involve?

      1. Viki*

        It was run by an outside company. I tried to find the calendar meeting to see if there was a name, but unfortunately it wasn’t.

        It started with a general roundtable of what our job is, what our scope is and once we all agreed on a definition, we then got into learning styles/communication styles, what individual needs are vs group needs and where is there compromise etc.

        I found it super effective, but it’s something that needs to get buy in from a team. My team currently has been something that took the better part of two years to build and every new hire was a deliberate add so we already had the right atmosphere and this was just another tool in the tool box

    2. Unfettered scientist*

      Oh no that door dash one sounds awful! I’d hate to have to eat whatever someone randomly ordered for me. Also funny because there’s no way $20 would cover door dash in my area

      1. seps*

        Seriously, this is my nightmare. I don’t even like choosing a restaurant for my spouse and I to eat at because no matter how not picky someone claims to be, they always seem to be disappointed if it’s not exactly what they wanted. I CAN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE

        (this is totally a me problem)

      2. Viki*

        There’s an excel of preferences/allergies/dietary restrictions that is always sent around and referenced. It could be a know your team sort of thing–my team bonds over food. We’ve been doing it since 2020 and no one has said it was a bad idea (my team is full of engineers, people are very clear with anything that they don’t like)

        1. seps*

          Okay, this is much more reasonable. At least you have some data points in making the decision. I can see how that would be fun in the right group!

    3. DataGirl*

      “Another thing we have is a once a quarter meal chain. So we each have 20$ from the company to buy someone else on the team a lunch from DoorDash etc and we all get on camera and eat whatever someone ordered for us.”

      Do you ask the person what they want? What about food allergies and dietary restrictions? No offense but I would absolutely hate being expected to eat something that someone else picked out for me.

      1. one of the meg murrys*

        I would also hate that – it’s fascinating to me to realize that some people would enjoy this surprise meal. The group virtual lunch sounds fine, but let me pick out my own food!

      2. Viki*

        There’s an excel of preferences/allergies/dietary restrictions that is always sent around and referenced. It could be a know your team sort of thing–my team bonds over food. We’ve been doing it since 2020 and no one has said it was a bad idea (my team is full of engineers, people are very clear with anything that they don’t like)

    4. JustaTech*

      Oh I really like the “a gif to sum up your week”!

      I’m in a committee that is trying hard to help re-build our sense of community, now that a lot more people are WFH most of the week. It’s been really interesting to realize that there are some people who (in their own words) “would never talk to a person [they] don’t know about sports or something”.
      This was lightly shocking to some of the younger/more on-line members of the group. (And obviously me, since I’m here chatting with you all.)
      It’s not even like we were suggesting talking with anonymous strangers on the internet, we’re talking about chatting with coworkers!
      (That person instead suggested group virtual lunches, which other people found a bit gross on the sounds/sights of eating, so I suggested coffees as same idea, less chewing.)

  12. Moira Rose's Closet*

    I’m really curious about the “high trust workshop session,” as I also work in a stressful, high-pressure environment where the stakes are sometimes life and death, and trust is very low on my team. What did the session involve?

  13. old curmudgeon*

    Something that I consider really important (and something that my own employer is doing an awful job with) is to remember that employees are not a one-size-fits-all model, and that an employee engagement strategy that works with some folks will totally miss with others.

    My employer has apparently concluded that EVERYONE likes sports and EVERYONE wants to talk about sports and EVERYONE wants to pay their own money to attend sporting events in person as part of a huge group. That approach totally excludes those of us for whom having a root canal would be preferable to discussing or watching sports.

    So the first thing I’d recommend is some sort of genuinely anonymous poll where employees can share ideas for what they’d find engaging/interesting/team-enhancing activities. And then make sure to implement a variety of things instead of ALL SPORTS ALL THE TIME.

    1. ferrina*

      +1 Definitely have different options on how/what types of things folks can join in. For anything that’s not really optional, make it as low-stakes and painless as possible.

    2. DataGirl*

      agreed. My old workplace used to have a ‘wear your favorite sport’s team shirt/jersey’ day. As someone who doesn’t like sports, doesn’t follow any sporting teams, and definitely doesn’t own any clothing related to a team I asked if I could wear a band t-shirt instead and was told no, that wasn’t in the spirit of the event. SIGH

      1. Lenora Rose*

        I’d be wanting to join up with a bunch of others to do a counter-culture response, be it bands or tv shows or something else. In my current workplace, that wouldn’t fly (though they had one jersey day all year), but in my last one, that would have gone over reasonably well.

      2. old curmudgeon*

        My workplace does the same thing (mandatory in person pre-pandemic, voluntary by way of photos now).

        My quiet rebellion when it was in-person and mandatory was to obtain a t-shirt from a super-obscure team in a highly specialized sport that isn’t even played in the U.S., and to wear that on “team spirit day.” The amusement I derived from the baffled reactions of all the conventional sports fans around me was almost enough to counteract the sense of alienation I experienced from having to wear a sports-themed garment in the first place.

        1. Joielle*

          I have a shirt from the Savannah Bananas minor league baseball team and it is so ridiculous. I would definitely wear that.

      3. Robin Simons*

        we used to have this Ravens Friday. Then we started hiring more Pittsburgh based people, so it became a sports Friday. I am not a sports fan, so I bought a purple tshirt with the text of “The Raven” on it. I’m not a Ravens fan, I am a “The Raven” fan.

      4. JustaTech*

        This is where I come down hard on the side of being more inclusive with events. And since I’ve been stuck on the event committee for years, I figure I should at least take advantage of it for positive change.

        For a couple years we had a chili cookoff as a fundraiser for a cause related to our work. Cool. As a member of the planning committee I was expected to contribute. Fine, except that I can’t eat spicy food – I just have no heat tolerance. So I made chili that *I* could eat and came in stone cold dead last. And that stung. (Even if it did all get eaten, so people clearly liked it.)

        So the next year I brought a (very mild) curry. And while a couple of people were all “that’s not a chili!” I said “Then it won’t win, but I wasn’t going to win anyway, and now there’s a mild, vegan option for everyone.” And what was surprising was how many people said that they had curries or soups they would *love* to share, but didn’t because it was a chili cookoff.
        So we decided that the next year it would be a “chili and soup” cookoff. (And then COVID happened, but *this* year there will be chili and curry and borscht.)

        So instead of saying “sports shirts only” I would say “any sports shirt, including e-sports, or band shirts, anything you’re a fan of”.

    3. seps*

      I love sports, and for this very reason I hate them as a group activity/basis for small talk. There are people who actually care about sports, people who “care” about sports because they believe it’s universal, and people who don’t care about sports and shouldn’t have to pretend to care about sports. The people in the middle are the problem.

    4. calvin blick*

      I like sports but I don’t love sports ticket or concession prices. That’s something they should be considering too

      1. old curmudgeon*

        Can’t do that when you work for a government employer – state and federal funding sources won’t pay for anything like that.

        Which I realize adds to the whole challenge for a governmental employer trying to enhance employee engagement, but I promise that it is possible to come up with free or low-cost activities that DO NOT INVOLVE SPORTS.

        Ahem, sorry for yelling.

  14. Less Bread More Taxes*

    I think my partner’s employer does a really good job with this. Every quarter, there is an activity that is 100% optional, lowish cost, and gets people across the company talking. The last one was growing a tomato. Taking photos of the plant was optional while it was growing, but there was a dedicated slack channel for it, and people wanted to share their progress. At the end of the quarter, people took a photo of the best tomato and voted to determine a winner. As an outsider, I thought it seemed really cool and a breath of fresh air from typical activities that exclude people for one reason or another.

      1. Less Bread More Taxes*

        It was great because even “losing” was fun. There were so many people whose plants died at some point, and there was a brief mourning period with sad reacts and gifs. Ours did surprisingly well considering we’ve never tried something like this before, although it did die towards the end and the tomatoes got soft.

      1. Mid*

        I agree! This is a great fun, accessible activity. Not something that requires athleticism, a lot of space, or a bunch of spare time or money. Everyone has a window in their home, and can spare a few inches for a small plant. It’s not highly competitive because even the best botanists/farmers have plants die sometimes. I might try to see if I can adapt a similar activity for one of the volunteer organizations I work with.

    1. AnonyMouse*

      What a great idea on the tomato plant! A friend’s company did little challenges like that. One was getting a complex lego set without the instruction manual, and the winner was whoever got it closest to accurate, which I thought was pretty fun.

  15. 867-5309*

    We do several things:
    – A monthly (optional) Friday morning coffee and chat with my direct team.
    – I post fun stuff in Teams at least a few times a month (like a pic of my dog) and others share similarly. I also use Teams to post interesting industry news for everyone to comment or share their POV.
    – We bring our extended team (my boss’s org) together at a minimum once a year for an outing.
    – We get 8 hours of paid volunteer time and encourage people outside of our HQ but perhaps in an area with another or other remote folks to do things like that together if they want.
    – When those of us at HQ (which is most of the team) have a meeting that includes lunch, I sent gift cards to my remote folks so they can also have a treat.

    1. 867-5309*

      And OP, check out some of the letters and threads in the early days of the pandemic. There were lots of discussions and ideas about how to keep teams feeling connecting while everyone was remote.

  16. Xaraja*

    We have a chat feature built into our phone and meeting software (RingCentral) that includes emojis and gifs (I’ve wondered sometimes if that’s actually wise but I’ve not had it used inappropriately with me so it’s working ok). I made fast friends with my closest coworker after starting the job in 2020 without meeting her in person for over a year mainly through the chat and sometimes calls.

    I think a lot of it is culture that’s led by managers. I remember vividly a meeting I had early in my tenure at this company when my cat woke up from a nap behind me on a cat tree and another person on the call commented and then we spent several minutes talking about cats and then my grand boss held his phone up to the camera and tried to show us a video of deer in his yard. I couldn’t really see the deer but his excitement about seeing my cat and the deer really set the tone for me.

  17. Smithy*

    For remote/hybrid teams – when social/team building activities are done via digital channels – having a tool box for different online games or activities that work with Zoom/Teams or whatever option you have available.

    Digital platforms are not great for cross-talk so a Zoom goodbye party or baby shower with essentially no structure can easily become flat/awkward or become dominated by those who’ve been on a team longest and are already familiar/friendly. Having a range of digital games/activities that could suffice for a substitute “party” as well as quicker ones as an add-on’s to a meeting would be amazing.

    For a recent digital baby shower, a team lead made a game of different images of funny/goofy baby products and people guessed in the chat what it was for. She made the effort to find items that were truly so odd that being a parent or non-parent didn’t matter, and answers being either serious or goofy allowed for both people to engage via the chat and speaking. As an activity it felt really simple but fun for a 30 min staff baby shower, but I heard later it actually took her a long time to come up with the idea and then the photos, etc.

  18. Thordak The Cinder King*

    My company just this week unveiled an initiative called Affinity Groups, basically social groups of employees revolving around common interests. Too soon to say how well it’s working (the kickoff call was only yesterday), but I’m definitely interested in any groups that will relate to gaming and D&D!

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Second this.
      We have about a dozen affinity channels in Slack – plants, recipes, makers, sports, etc. Some of them are really active.

    2. QA Peon*

      We do something like this too. They’ve also started hosting “lunch and learn” zooms hosted by people on their hobby topics. I learned some good stuff about what plants grow well in the shade and how to take better photos.

  19. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    What is the motivation behind connecting employees more closely? I feel most connected to my colleagues when we are working together to get something good accomplished.

    1. justanobody*

      Getting to know people as individuals and not just through the context of work helps people build trust with each other. it also helps us feel more invested in each other.

    2. Susan Calvin*

      I think for most people, the ideal workplace is some happy medium between the oversharing, boundary trampling, “we’re all family here” type and the strictly impersonal, all-work-no-play end of the spectrum. If you prefer to compartmentalize, that’s cool, but not a universal experience.

      Also, beyond personal happiness; I’d argue for indirect benefits to the quality of work as well. Me, I’m situated somewhere within the sales part of our organization, and I *might* occasionally be in the same meeting as our produc owners, but anyone else from the tech side? Forget it. Having the virtual equivalent of a water cooler chat with a developer once in a while is something that might give me valuable insights though, or at the very least make me better connected within the company, which will most likely be helpful at some point.

      1. Office Lobster DJ*

        Valuable insights for sure. Even if you don’t value a social relationship, connection gives you a bigger picture of how things get done at your company, enhancing your institutional knowledge. For example, the next time your team has a problem with the llama groomers, maybe your chats have given you not only a decent rapport with some groomers but enough insight into the grooming process to know how to approach and resolve the issue.

      2. philmar*

        I cannot tell you the number of times I have gotten out of a jam because I was friendly with coworkers. You know that episode of Parks and Rec where Leslie gives an interview while she’s drunk, and the baggage handler throws away the tape because she has always been a friendly person to him? Things like that have happened to me. And I have moved heaven and earth to help out my coworkers who I know have my back. And does your day not go by faster when you can say “hey bro, how is that new car working out?” or “did you ever finish that video game?” to someone.

    3. Internship Admin*

      Related to that, I appreciate the opportunity to opt in to special projects that cross departments or include people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It meets the goal of building connection but we’re actually getting work done at the same time.

      1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        My old workplace was (dysfunctionally) a place where the best way to get something done properly was to know “a guy”. The departmental lookup was a joke; everything was listed by people instead of by function, and if a person left there was no good way to locate who their replacement was. There was also a lot of musical C-level reorganization, where stacks of people would change higher management but not day-to-day level functions, and if you’d been looking for the group based on the executive, you’d have to re-learn the whole stack.

        As an assistant, I specialized in knowing who the “guys” were, and every connection I made outside of my immediate working group was another person whose knowledge of “guys” I could mine. I would grouse about somewhere I had a hangup in the complaints-and-baked-goods text channel, and someone might suggest the person they worked with the last time they had a similar problem. I got to know one of the guys from Facilities pretty well, and he knew ALL the guys. I repaid this by sharing my connections and building an internal wiki page with my findings.

    4. Shirley Keeldar*

      Also, see the really good point made above about connecting with co-workers over salary, working conditions, management decisions…. If something is inequitable or just not working, it helps to know your colleagues a bit so you can figure out how to band together to make things better.

      1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        Yes, it is much harder for IT to say that you are the only person who is having a problem with the new helpdesk system when there is an organized group of engineers from various departments and you present them with a panel of one angry engineer, one reasonable engineer, one very chill but implacable engineer, and a fuming secretary whose management level user experience people cannot comprehend the brand new and very expensive user interface.

    5. Scrooge*

      I feel the same way (and like an old fart). I don’t need to “connect” with my coworkers any more than I currently am. I have friends, family and other interests for outside of work. I don’t need to do group photo hunt game or coffee chit chat. I’ve got work to do!

      That makes me sound cold but I don’t feel disconnected from my team either. We have idle talk- not everything is about work and the occasional happy hour. Personally, I don’t need more than that. I despise team building/group activities during work hours. I don’t consider those as productive as emptying my inbox so that I can be done work on time and go to Happy Hour with my husband.

    6. Mid*

      I think another thing, beyond what people have listed already, is that seeing your coworkers as well-rounded people can help you give them more grace/patience, understand tone more, etc. Especially if you’re primarily using written communication (messages and emails), sometimes people can come across more harsh than intended. Knowing that Wakeen is actually a very kind person with an affinity for knock knock jokes can help shape how you read the “Fine.” email you get from him. Or knowing that Julie has a sick pet at home and that’s why she’s a little less engaged during meetings, instead of assuming she’s not paying attention or that she’s mad at you.

      It also helps to share institutional knowledge in ways that might not be easily formally documented. You don’t necessarily want to have in writing “we don’t use this vendor because their lead sales person is a giant racist d-bag” but it’s helpful context to have sometimes. And then also it can help empower workers, because they can connect to each other and form a united front to deal with issues that impact them, they can compare notes and find out that yes, Michael is only promoting men on his team and not providing opportunities for women in the same way, or that a bunch of people have been promised raises that still haven’t come through, or that there are very different salaries across a team of people with similar seniority levels and responsibilities.

      I don’t want my coworkers to be my best friends, but seeing the more well rounded person instead of just their work product is helpful for working relationships, and workers that are connected are often more empowered and can band together in the face of unfair treatment.

    7. Anne Wentworth*

      When everyone in a team is working remotely, you need to create channels to facilitate the type of casual interaction you have around the office. Creating regular interactions means that organizational information is shared, people learn about opportunities, find out what their coworkers are working on, what projects are coming soon, who to ask about certain topics, etc.

      If you don’t consciously do this when a team goes remote, everyone becomes siloed and isolated.

    8. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      There are several folks around my org that I know are warm friendly people — I’ve met them sort of socially, like at an employee appreciation lunch, holiday party, or retirement party, we talked about our plants or pets, or we both like a sports team, etc. But if I only ever experienced their business communication on a project — they are very direct and to the point, or have a dry wit, or get hyperbolic with their feedback — sometimes to the level that had I not met them informally, I would misunderstand their communication style and be offended. Not so coincidentally, those folks are usually a different culture or age group or …

      The good of connecting employees is to break down those biases, so I see Karen from Accounting as a whole person, and not just the woman who bounces back my expense report when I forgot to sign it. If her business message is, “You need to sign this.” I might “hear” her tone a bit differently.

  20. azvlr*

    The team I’m on does it very organically. We have a group chat for work-related quick questions, and occasionally devolve into silliness on there. It’s super brief, like maybe someone replying with a gif to something. We all chuckle and move on. Two reasons why this works: 1) the boss plays too, and 2) no one gets carried away with it. It’s literally one or two goofy things maaaybe once a week.
    It sort of just happened at the start of the pandemic when someone sent a meme of a storm trooper that said, “I miss people”, and every once in a while someone would send their playlist.

  21. Mbarr*

    My team has a chat for everyone – it’s about 70% fun, and 30% work related. Honestly I keep the chat muted because too many pop-ups were happening, but it’s fun to check in a couple of times a day and hop on conversations with everyone.

    Beyond that, we try to do the occasional fun team building activity. One coworker organized a “guess who’s home office this is” survey on a weekly basis. It generated some fun conversations.

    Another lead organized a work friendly “Never have I ever” game – she put together some slides and slid team jokes/references into the slides. People who HAD done the activity on the slide had to turn on their cameras, and we’d chat about some of the answers. Questions included things like, “Never have I ever asked Mbarr for an answer that was already in the wiki” or “Never have I ever ran a marathon” – things like that.

    I also once organized a survey of the team for silly questions like, “What was your childhood nickname” and “what did you want to be when you grow up” – then I assembled the questions/answers into slides and had the team try to match up the questions with people. Some fun stories came out of it.

    My old team (which is very small) has a monthly “snack and chat” video call – the rule is no work chat. I’m still invited to it, and we mostly share links or play games (e.g. Skribble or Wordle) together.

  22. Susan Calvin*

    I’ve had good experiences with remote game nights! Zoom/Skype/…-based usually makes sense with up to 10 or so people, if you want a larger group to intermingle, Gather.Town might be an option (break-out rooms in Zoom could probably work if you’re better at Zoom than me).

    For games, we had a recurring Among Us league for a while, but for a more casual (i.e. “no installation required”) experience, we had a selection of browser based things like GeoGuesser, Gartic Phone, or a poker app I forget the name of.

    If you’re above a certain size (100~ employees, but also debends on org structure) and you start to experience some silo building since the people who aren’t already on the same team or working together closely, also don’t have a chance to run into each other in line at the coffee machine, consider a virtual speed-dating event!

  23. RosyGlasses*

    We’ve been using Slack for about 5-6 years, and I’m glad we had that as a good foundation entering into the pandemic and shifting from in-the-office twice weekly to fully remote and dispersed.

    Having “fun” channels (pet-centric, plant-centric, general watercooler channel) provides a focused place for people to post, and encouraging activity by leadership engaging as well and participating is key, I think.

    We’ve done ad hoc “coffee chats” which last 20-30 minutes and is loosely facilitated by a director (to prompt engagement and make sure there isn’t one person dominated conversation).

    Recently we started monthly virtual volunteer opportunities, we have monthly or bimonthly virtual socials (all voluntary attendance) which give folks opportunity to connect.

    We also use donut – which is an AI integration with slack, to randomly pair two folks at whatever frequency you choose. Everyone fills out a little survey about their favorite books, movies, travels, etc and then donut will pair you with a person and prompt you with a talking point. It’s been really fun and is great for cross-functional teams to learn more about each other.

    Through books and trainings, I really focus on the mindset that each person should be approaching their teammates and work with in order to support collaboration and connection. Whether that is through having more effective 1:1s regularly or learning opportunities that are designed for a team or individual – regularly working towards improving relational or soft skills is something that I believe to be crucial in a fully remote world.

    1. Isben Takes Tea*

      We also use the #donut-buddies bot, and while only a percentage of our 100+ people company use it, it’s highly recommended by those who do.

  24. EvieK*

    The best thing we do is a weekly standing Zoom meeting within our department of the same type of analysts – gives us an open chance to share tips/tricks/complaints/issues and to chat as people coupled with a more formal monthly zoom tips/tricks type meeting of similar job types across the organization. Our monthly department meetings are less useful – could easily be an email – because the different job types connect and work well on projects but don’t have the same types of information to share. I don’t think anything comes up organically in the across job type meetings but it sure does in the within job type meetings. We also have and use Teams for quick questions within projects and therefore across job types. So much depends on what tasks people do and what kinds of people they are. Oh -we do have after hours community service volunteer sessions which are liked and well attended and completely (no side eyeing) voluntary. I don’t know how those feed into satisfaction because they have so far picked times I was already booked for.

    1. azvlr*

      Our bi-weekly meeting with the larger group has time at the beginning and end for socialization. Silly jokes, personal news (weddings, babies, etc.) and pets.

  25. The one who wears too much black*

    We stay in touch the same way we always have – we have a weekly team meeting where we have cameras on (it’s known ahead of time that this is a camera’s on meeting) and we have five to ten minutes at the start of the meeting for general chat. We talk about the art and media we’ve been consuming and whether any of us did anything fun we want to talk about. Then it’s into the meeting.

    I think this works for our team because of the routine; we know that we will always have early Tuesday morning to catch up and coordinate our weeks, and we make a point to have cameras on so that we can see one another and react to one another.

    Because of this once weekly meeting with space right at the beginning to just be people who work together, we all have a great working relationship and reach out to one another during the week on our own to touch base, assign or reassign projects, and just generally work faster and together better in my experience.

  26. Ali G*

    My husband’s company does “watercooler catch ups” where people sign up (so it’s 100% voluntary) and they are matched with people outside their department for 15 min “get to know you” conversations – not work related. These can be done via Zoom or in-person.
    We do free lunch one day a week at our HQ. It’s become pretty popular and people that choose to come in tend to schedule their meetings with co-workers that day so they get face time with their teams too.
    Also, twice a year we have Staff Appreciation where we have food at HQ and/or everyone gets delivery at their homes. We play games over Zoom, have photo contests, and lots of other things. It’s short and typically during most work hours (we have people over 4 time zones so it’s never going to be 100% during regular work hours for everyone).

  27. Monday Monday*

    My company is mostly 100% remote.
    We do a monthly virtual happy hour and the theme changes. One month it was a trivia game.

    We also have a book club that is a lot of fun. We send out a poll and vote on the book based on suggestions. And then we casually get together over Teams to talk about the book. And anyone can come…even if you didn’t read the book. It is always a fun discussion.

    For those of us that are 100% remote but geographically nearby we will sometimes get together in small groups for lunch or happy hour in person.

    We have done virtual step challenges and Peloton rides. Those who can, will do 5Ks in person together.

    1. Generic Name*

      I like hearing about other companies where folks enjoy socializing (either remote or in person). I think the commentariat here skews to the “ugh human interaction” end of the spectrum, which is fine, but not representative of the population as a whole. My company also does in-person happy hours and events. I’m going to a baseball game tomorrow with colleagues, and I’m super excited about it.

      1. Monday Monday*

        I think it depends on the “human interaction”. I am at a new place of employment where the people are great and fun to hang out with. I am very introverted but love these activities.
        At my last job there was a lot of conflict on our team so even the virtual activities were painful and a lot of moaning and groaning. It got very childish to the point of “well if so-and-so is dialing in, I am not going.”

  28. Generic Name*

    My company has historically been very remote-friendly. Here are some things that we do:

    -all company or team meetings are either virtual or a combination of in-person and virtual
    -the company flies all remote team members who wish to attend the annual company picnic and other times during the year as needed
    -people make time to meet up in person when travelling near where a remote employee is based
    -people in my company are generally friendly and open. We have light chit chat at the beginning of meetings (I’ve been in remote meetings on projects led by external clients where it’s utter silence until the meeting starts).

  29. Ann Onymous*

    My team doesn’t have anybody that’s 100% remote (some of our work requires onsite equipment) but onsite time for people on our team ranges from a half day per week to full time. One thing that’s worked well for us is to coordinate our onsite time. If at all possible, we are all onsite on Wednesday mornings and we hold our daily standup in person (it’s on Zoom the rest of the week). Our manager often brings in donuts or bagels and everybody hangs out and chats for a few minutes at the end of standup.

    1. Kris*

      I’ve had a similar experience. We are a small team (5 people) who have worked together a long time. Our work is usually very solitary (independent contributor-type work) but it also benefits from impromptu discussion/brainstorming. We have settled on having one day a week in which we are all in the office. Otherwise people choose to work in the office or remotely as they prefer. It has struck a good balance for our group.

  30. Coffee Break Fan*

    My company hosts a coffee break. Thought I’d share how we do it since it does promote real connection with multiple people. First, it’s optional. If you are interested, the organizer puts everyone into a group of 3-4 people. Each group has a leader. That leader is responsible for scheduling the group’s coffee break each month via Teams. It’s a monthly meeting for 30 minutes. The group lasts 6 months and then new groups are created and it starts again. I have been able to get to know people in my department that I never had a business reason to engage with. Really appreciated this activity.

  31. cmdrspacebabe*

    I work in an organization with 1 central office and a bunch of smaller regional offices, and the word from the regional staff is unanimous that remote work has made them feel WAY more connected than they ever had before. The digital-first formatting has meant that they’re actually fully included by default instead of just an afterthought (my group was notorious for the “single conference phone on speaker in the centre of the room” technique of calling them into meetings). I think the key for us will be to continue with the digital-first formatting as much as we can. It doesn’t actually detract much for those who want to attend in person, but makes a huge difference for those attending from elsewhere, and is more accessible to boot in terms of allowing for sign language interpretation; captioning; and recording for transcription.

  32. slightly discreet today*

    Simple and boring-sounding — we compare notes about when we’re planning to be in the office. A year or two ago, we did it so we weren’t overlapping, but it’s shifted so now we try to overlap sometimes, and make a point of social chatting as well as talking about work-related stuff.

    Also, sometimes two of us working at home put our phones on speaker and chat while we type, rather than just – call to get info, write it down in notebook, hang up and type, call back.

    There might also be occasional “office meetings” scheduled on a Friday afternoon, which means that someone brings beer. Only one each, and only on a day where nobody’s planning to drive.

  33. QA Peon*

    Before Covid, my org was already promoting Common Interests groups in a very tangible way. We had a photo club, genealogy group, knitting club, sewing, yoga, even a group focused on community service. If you could find 3 people to get together around a topic, you could start an interest group, apply for funding and hold meetings during the work week.

    When we all went virtual, a lot of those groups survived. We meet every other Friday by zoom and talk, we spend our budgets on digital resources. I talk to people in departments I would never otherwise interact with.

  34. one of the meg murrys*

    A thing my former work group used to do pre-pandemic that transferred well to Teams meetings was gather photos from people before each monthly staff meeting and then show them for the first 5 minutes. They could be of a vacation, milestone event, pet, whatever, and everyone made comments complimenting or congratulating or saying “tell me more about where that hike is!” I liked it because it didn’t feel like you could only share big stuff like you got married or your kid graduated – there was a vibe of sincere support for how cute your cat was or how awesome your blooming flowers were too (and you could share something more or less personal). Someone had to remind/nag people to send them in ahead, but there was usually a good handful.

  35. BellyButton*

    I was managing 7 different leadership programs. I divided all the participants into cohorts. Each month they got an email with the assignment which varied; either a 15 min module, 5-10 min video, or a book chapter. The email also has information about the topic of the month and additional reading or videos to watch if they wanted. I always tied that month’s topic to our leadership competencies and what is happening in the performance management cycle.

    We met once a month to discuss the topic and then discussed how that works in their world and used the opportunity for peer and leadership coaching by me.

    I am a big believer that learning is about doing. How do they take this knowledge and implement into their world? How do they think it should be measured? How does this skill and knowledge fit into their career goals? I was there to guide them but I encouraged them to peer coach and help each other.

    I also made sure that cohorts were put together with people of various levels, experience, and from different departments.

    All of this has been done remotely. It has been hugely successful and learning is no longer seen as a check mark or as punishment. There are waiting lists for each level of these programs. None of these are mandatory except the one for first time managers. Anyone can enroll in the various programs. No manager needs to recommend them. There is manager approval, I’ve only had one denied in 4 years- and that was because there was going to be a big project and the manager didn’t think they would have time to dedicate to the learning until that was done. The person enrolled in one for a later date.

    Managers of the people in the programs also get a monthly email that tells them what their employee is working on that month and tips for them to use in their monthly 1:1 to discuss and continue to coach. So in reality two people are learning! This also holds their manager accountable to continue their development and to measure it.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll reply as best I can.

  36. SansaStark*

    We’re mostly an in-person team with one person remote. We have a weekly meeting where we all present an update on our certain thing. One thing that’s helped keep the remote person integrated in these meetings is that he keeps the agenda, notes, and screen-sharing for the meeting. I think it’s helped keep him ‘part’ of the conversation by having him sort of lead the discussion.

    1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      That’s so smart! I love that solution. It’s really hard when there’s only one/two folks not in the room and it takes a lot of mindfulness by those in the room to remember — this circumvents that.

  37. WillowSunstar*

    My team does a weekly meeting where cameras have to be on. We also use Teams chat. It’s fine but I wish there was more. It’s incredibly lonely working from home when you are single.

  38. CommanderBanana*

    Honestly, the people/teams that were unresponsive and hard to work with in an in-person setting stayed unresponsive and hard to work with in a virtual settings, and the people/teams that were responsive in-person stayed responsive virtually.

    I do think that you have to be mindful about bringing new people on in a virtual setting, especially if they are coming into a team that worked together in-person before shifting to virtual. But in my organization, I have found that the same issues with the same people remained and being virtual didn’t make any difference.

  39. Charlotte Bonilla*

    I started doing coffee break with my team every few weeks to replicate the kitchen sort of talk at the office. No awkwardness with chewing food on camera and we catch up on our lives, TV, movies-anything really that doesn’t relate to work.

  40. LRL*

    Encouraging everyone (in person or virtual) to use communication technology. Communication is a two-way street, and everyone needs to be on board.

    I am one of just a few who work remotely at my org, and I feel very connected with my teammates who are actively using Teams (or just have it running in the background. We all have computer heavy roles). While we do send memes or screenshots once in a while, it is mostly work related.

    Some of my in-person teammates have started using Teams as a way to get ahold of me but are not available for me to get ahold of them. Some have complained that I am difficult to work with because they can’t walk down the hall to catch me or, gasp, yell out their office door for me. It is really isolating when people are unable or unwilling to adapt their communication to include people in other physical locations.

    Inclusion is often less about fun activities and more about the way that we work together day to day.

  41. calvin blick*

    I started a remote job in March, and so far I’ve met my co-workers in person only a handful of times. It is a little isolating, especially since the culture seems to be a) have lots of meetings, but b) very little small talk at the beginning/end. Obviously I want to do a good job personally, but there is definitely less team spirit on my end here.

    One thing I’ve noticed it’s much easier to become impatient with co-workers when everything is virtual. I made some cost spreadsheet, sent it to leadership, and they started going back and forth over email about the proper place to save it, but couldn’t decide on anything. In person, I’d probably just sympathize with how busy they are, but remotely it is more much frustrating. (Hopefully people don’t feel that way about me as the new guy, but I guess they probably do).

  42. Justin*

    Given my team is national we’re remote by necessity even if it weren’t for (all this).

    We do a lot of activities, devote a few minutes of meetings to sharing about various topics. This is cheesy if we didn’t all work well together too, though, so that part is the key. And we have in-person regional gatherings that are not mandatory but people are excited for them when they come around.

  43. stargazer*

    What we’ve tried that’s worked:
    – Optional in person meals or happy hours
    – One day a week that’s “office day” where people come in (but don’t typically have to)
    – Virtual team meetings regularly, and 1-1 meetings as often as necessary

    What we’ve tried that hasn’t worked:
    – Virtual happy hours
    – The one weird guy texting everyone individually “good morning” and creating a ping for no reason

  44. The OTHER other*

    I think the most important thing we did was ASK employees what would help them, and then we LISTENED. This was good because it saved us a lot of time (and money) on things we might have thought would be helpful but actually would not have been, and in many cases employees would have disliked.

    It became apparent that different employees wanted different things, so we were able to offer different solutions to different people, rather than forcing everyone into the same box. People like to have a feeling of control around their environment, especially now, so giving people the ability to choose was helpful, and would have been even if 90% of the people would have chosen option A.

  45. BellyButton*

    I mentioned how I put together the leadership programs. I also host monthly webinars about various topics and I kept the content to 25 minutes which gives people time to ask questions and discuss. I don’t manage the book clubs but I promote them and send book suggestions and tips for getting the discussions going.

    We have ERG programs that give people the opportunity to connect.

    Forced socialization doesn’t work. Setting up opportunities for people who want to socialize and participate works better. People who are forced to do things tend to be unhappy and don’t take anything away from it.

    Creating an atmosphere where it is voluntary and not mandatory- even unofficially mandatory (have to go to look like I’m a team player) is when culture changes, when people connect, and when people benefit.

    Those who want to do it will find a way to do it.

  46. Savvy*

    I haven’t actually tried this, but just thought of it. What about something like a “lunch buddy lottery”? People who are interested getting to know some of their coworkers could put their name into some kind of lottery to be randomly matched with another coworker (or a small group like 3 or 4 to make it less awkward) for lunch on a certain day once a week (or every other week, once a month, whatever timing makes sense). This would be an opt in only program, so only people interested in socializing would participate.

    1. Nonny Moose*

      I’ve seen this work successfully both in person and virtually, as long as the company pays for lunch. My company opted you in and assigned groups of 4 or 5 by default, but it was always very low pressure and not mandatory. The times I was able to make it it gave me a chance to meet senior leadership in a casual setting which was nice.

  47. Scrooge McPenguin*

    Whatever you do, please just don’t make any of it mandatory. I log on, get my work done, and log off. I don’t want to chat for ten minutes at the beginning of every online meeting, and if I notice that pattern, I just start arriving ten minutes “late”. I don’t want to play Mafia or Ninjas or answer where I went on my summer vacation (I didn’t take one, but even if I did it’s none of your business). I just want to work. I get along well with all my coworkers, but my private life is just that – private. And to be honest, I don’t care about yours.

    1. Nonny Moose*

      This this this – if I see the virtual calls include a bunch of small talk I won’t be joining until the content starts

      1. Formerly Ella Vader*

        For a non-work ongoing project, we had the custom that the Zoom call would open at 7 pm, and everyone was expected to be in place ready to work at 7:15. Some people liked the chance to visit before getting down to it, some people liked to have the call started while they puttered around making tea and drinking it, and other people appreciated a little more time to themselves on a work night and knowing they weren’t being judged for just showing up for the start of the project work.

  48. Savvy*

    Another random idea I had, create some kind of opt-in book club/discussion group for those who may be interested, perhaps focusing on leadership or professional/personal development topics. The club could choose some kind of media to review each month (book, essay, video like a TED talk) and have a round table discussion about it (via Zoom or in-person, whatever would get the most people – or perhaps alternating in-person vs. Zoom to accommodate both). Personally I think viewing and talking about a TED talk over lunch would be cool.

  49. cactus lady*

    We use Teams and Zoom mainly as our communications platform. Teams for internal staff meetings, Zoom for external partner meetings. We have daily on-camera team huddles in the morning, and as much as I hate being on camera, my staff like it and have told me repeatedly that it makes them feel connected. I also have an “open door” policy where my staff know they can ping me at any time I’m free on my calendar and ask for a meeting (they also have this policy with each other). I think of it as the virtual version of dropping by someone’s office. I also make sure we have social time at our morning meetings and it’s not just all business – pets and kids are welcome to come say hi :)

    There have been points over the past 2.5 years where members of my staff feel siloed and it causes issues. The best way I’ve found is to be really communicative with them and open to hearing what isn’t working, and what they see as the solution. Sometimes the solution isn’t practical (“can we hire 3 more staff/drop this project/say no to the CEO”), but they like being heard, and often we can talk through it to come to a workable solution.

    Keeping set hours is helpful, too. I don’t generally work in the evenings and I don’t expect my staff to just because they theoretically *CAN*. I work with another manager who does expect this and she has had a LOT of turnover in the past 2.5 years, where my team hasn’t had any. Respect people’s off time – I’ve notice folks seem to find it harder to disconnect when you’re working remotely. I’ve tried very hard to build a culture on my team where you don’t work evenings and weekends, and if your off on vacation or sick time we don’t bother you unless it’s something truly urgent. I think that’s only happened once since I’ve been here.

    Also, making sure people are comfortable with whatever platform you’re using. Don’t expect them to automatically be comfortable on Teams, TRAIN them. Make sure they have the proper training to be successful virtually.

  50. Yennefer*

    I think corporate engagement is most effective when left up to teams and close managers. Give teams a budget for quarterly outings/events and let them figure out what makes sense for the team.

    From an organization level I think you should also 1) have annual or bi-annual events for all staff so people feel some connection the tone corp. 2) Create a space where people WANT to come in – where they have the tools, space, etc to work more effectively than they can at home. This includes quiet focus areas and plentiful meeting rooms. 3) provide a chat channel like slack or teams and encourage teams to use it (provide training/demos if you’re struggling with adoption).

  51. Alex*

    I think one thing to consider is what you aim to GET out of having “connection” on your team.

    Personally, in my role, and in my team…I don’t really want to feel connected to them and don’t see a purpose to the “all staff meetings” where different teams give presentations about what is going on in their work. I am really not interested in 99% of it and find it a waste of time. My work is not very collaborative and I don’t really NEED to have close connections to people who are not really involved in my work. The move to working from home has been amazing for me and I don’t actually want to recreate the interaction I used to have in the office.

    I understand that in some roles it does make sense, or that some people do value casual social interactions with their colleagues. I do have close friends at work but that occurred naturally, not through a series of structured interactions. I think before implementing a connectivity plan for an office, it is worth examining what exactly the goal is and why it is important to the business, not just because there’s some sense that things are not like they used to be. That will help guide what kinds of things would be useful or appreciated by your employees.

    1. Naga*

      I’m in the same boat, I’ve chosen my work precisely because it can be done pretty well independently and it fits a loner like myself. I have a friendly demeanor at work because I think that’s part of the basic package of being a good coworker and nice human, but I feel absolutely crowded when I’m pushed to connect to coworkers beyond that in structured ways. I like to pick my friends myself and leave work at work. If you know my name and roughly what I do, and know that you’re welcome to come to me if you need anything work-related and I’ll be helpful, we’ve team-built enough.

    2. Curmudgeon in California*

      I’m not a heavily social person. But a little casual banter and an ability to see the personality behind a screen name helps. I’m fully remote, and have never met my coworkers in person. Some people I have never seen their face, and that’s fine. But between casual banter while meetings are waiting to start and the occasional dad joke, it feels like more that just working with a bunch of strangers or robots. It doesn’t take much.

  52. urguncle*

    Slack has been a huge part because it is so easy to communicate and share. Many of the channels are for socializing, posting pet pictures, kid pictures, chatting during the day. We have a daily icebreaker question that can be something as silly as “your favorite ___ that starts with [letter],” a trivia question to answer, a poll (what’s the best kind of fried potato?), etc. We have weekly (optional) sharing sessions that give individual employees an opportunity to share parts of their personal lives in a casual environment.

    But you can do all of that and still have a completely checked out remote workforce. When the CFO is posting Rammstein videos as a favorite song, the new college grad is going to feel a lot better about participating without weird retribution.

    I will also say that this has taken some change in mindset for me. At times, I’ve been really resistant to put the amount of energy that I do into socializing at work, but 1) it has led to a lot of opportunities for me at the company and 2) I figure it’s equal to the amount of energy I would spend on figuring out work outfits and small talking in an in-person office.

  53. Naga*

    Whatever it is, make sure that it’s a) free, b) truly optional, and c) done in company time.
    To be honest most ‘team building’ activities I’ve been encouraged to take part in ended up feeling like a chore, either because we were expected to do them on top of an already heavy work load without modifying it, because they ended up just being more unpaid work (e.g. having us pick up a new skill together on our free time and calling it ‘team building’) or because they were a bandaid on top of a bad company culture.
    IMO well managed teams in healthy companies ‘team build’ in the process of doing the work and a few lunches or happy hours here and there, and most other things end up feeling gimmicky or extractivist – like they know everyone is mostly wanting to leave and they want to dissuade them by generating an emotional attachment to their workmates cause it’s cheaper than improving the rest of the work conditions.

  54. Nonny Moose*

    I’m fully remote and on a team that’s located across 4 timezones, but leadership makes sure that we do an offsite about once a quarter. We get to chat about relevant business things for 2-3 days and have a few fun dinners/team activities. I find that to be a best balance as someone who doesn’t require much socializing.

  55. S*

    I have been remote forever (17+ years) and for most of that I was the only remote person on my team. I made it a priority to “connect” with people, whether that was scheduling in-person meetings when I traveled to the office, or friendly chats (I was known to shoot “Good morning!” chats to people often. It’s a surprisingly effective technique.) or just picking up the phone.

    I just moved to a new team within the same company, where about half of us are remote. And my new team does some great stuff to help us all feel connected. A big part of it is using Teams effectively. We do a virtual version of the classic agile “standup” meeting. So every morning, within about a half hour window at the top of the day, everyone on the team posts a short paragraph about what they’re doing that day – key meetings, or analysis work, or whatever. Managers typically respond to everyone, but there’s a fair bit of team chatter too, as people reply “I can help you with that” or whatever. Then there are other team channels where we can ask questions, post kudos, or my favorite, the “Random” channel where we post dog photos and recipes. It took me a while to get used to being on Teams all day, but it’s SUCH a friendly vibe, and I really feel so much more connected than I ever have with any other team!

    1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      I’ve been trying to get my all-remote team to adopt slack standups — we do one or two calls a week instead. We are a functional group that’s distributed to different project teams so we don’t often work together unless we ask for help. I personally love the calls and we make time for chitchat on them, but often people have project conflicts and can’t make it so then a couple weeks can go by without seeing/hearing from some of my (very small) team. I’m trying to inspire more slack interaction in general, because it’s an efficient way to keep our work visible to each other as well as be personally visible to each other. Just seeing someone’s name/avatar on a regular basis would help me feel connected. Otherwise I’m on my own island! And honestly I don’t mind being an island — I worked mostly alone for many years — but if I am going to be part of a team I want to feel like part of a team, you know?

      1. S*

        Yep!! I’ve gone through the centralize-decentralize dance many times over my career, and I do prefer being in a team of people doing the same work.

  56. Little Miss Sunshine*

    My group does a monthly social event. Different people run the event each month and the whole global team is invited. We usually play some sort of game; trivia, bingo, a Clue-like whodunnit, a scavenger hunt, Scattergories, and Pictionary have all been very successful with our geographically dispersed hybrid team. People volunteer to lead an event each month, and its optional to attend. We usually get about 50% of the global team each month and we have a great time.

  57. SongbirdT*

    Sometimes the best tools are the simplest ones… My manager schedules our staff meeting late in the day, on Monday and it’s adult-beverage optional. She goes over the important staffy type things at the beginning, then it’s informal chit-chat. Sometimes it’s sharing a cocktail recipe, sometimes it’s talking shop, and the last one left me with a list of movies I need to watch at some point and an admonishment from our manager to “find some time between meetings this week or next if we can and go watch a movie”.

    That’s it. Pretty simple. Just taking a regular business task and making it less stuffy. I feel totally at ease reaching out to my teammates with questions or for help and they ping me plenty too. On the rare occasions when we are in person together, it’s like catching up with old friends rather than meeting strangers. If it helps, we were all remote and geographically spread out before the pandemic, so this is just biz as usual for us.

  58. I love getting paid to play games*

    My team has weekly meetings to check in about what everyone’s working on. But before we get into work stuff, we do 2 things: a game and personal life updates.

    For the games, we’ve tried a bunch, but now cycle between the ones that are our team’s favorites:
    – Catch Phrase (check out this Chrome extension for how to play within a Google Meet window:
    – Taboo (
    – Pictionary (
    – Hanabi ( – this one is way more involved, takes more thought to learn the rules, and takes much more time to play, so it’s quite rare that we actually choose this one. But it’s cooperative and a lot of fun!

    For the check-in, we do highs and lows. Short and simple but makes it so everyone gets time to share whatever they’re comfortable about their life outside of work, and we can get to know each other on a more personal level – something that can be hard when you don’t have in-person run-ins at the coffee pot.

  59. Ex-Teacher*

    My last team started having a weekly team meeting that was optional and not strictly work-related. We would often chat about work issues that would affect all of us as it was convenient to share when we were mostly all together, but we also would chat about random things. Our schedule made it easy to coordinate at the end of the day on Fridays, and not everyone came to every meeting, but it was a good way to end the week and stay connected to each other.

    1. Ex-Teacher*

      And it was always relatively short- scheduled 2o minutes before the end of the day, after all other regularly scheduled things were done, and never including heavy topics.

  60. animaniactoo*

    A once or twice a week all team video call is good. Every day is overkill. And make sure the correct people are copied on emails/messages that they should be in the loop for. And that they know when people are off for the day.

  61. Suz*

    Once a month my company does some sort of virtual contest. During March Madness, we had a cutest pet contest. Pets were put in brackets and you’d vote for one of each pair. Winners each week advanced to the next week. There were also honorary categories so even if your pet was eliminated early, you could still win bragging rights for Biggest Ears or whatever.

    We also did a virtual Nailed it / Bake-off contest. Entrants submitted photos of their creations. One time it was all baked goods. Another was all entrees.

  62. Oxford Comma*

    We use Slack more than Teams, but making sure everyone is comfortable knowing how to use whatever application you pick is key. We have a couple of casual channels for things like recipes, gardening, movies/tv too.

    Also, weekly meetings via Zoom

  63. English Rose*

    Some great comments here, illustrating just how different everyone is, the key message around activities I think being the word ‘optional’!
    But I was thinking that although hybrid/in-person mix is new, loads of us have been working in large, multi-site organisations forever, where there’s always been the need to build relationships with remote teams, often in other countries.
    What we have always done in the multi-site non-profit where I currently work is spread face–to-face meetings and training across different locations, so no-one feels they are always the one travelling, for example only about one in six meetings at head office. Seeing other people’s locations helps get to know them. The only thing that’s changed with Covid is that about half those meetings are now on Zoom.
    For trainings, we schedule in shared lunches, usually on site so people don’t have to scramble around getting to restaurants. That leaves time for chit chat for those that want to.
    We do some ice breakers (personal shudder!) but don’t make them too full on.
    It works well – we get the job done and know each other as well as we want to.

  64. Philosophia*

    Having skimmed the comments so far, I see I am not the only one whose reaction to forced togetherness on the job is TAKE YOUR EFFING TEAMBUILDING OFF OUR BACKS AND JUST LET US GET OUR WORK DONE. I am, let it be said, a participant in workplace virtual meetings where time for socializing is built in. The difference is that the meeting attendees—they’re small groups—talked it over early in the pandemic and reached consensus.

  65. OlympiasEpiriot*

    I realize that this might be off base on what’s being asked for; but, I joined a company during the lockdown, onboarding was supremely weird, and still feel somewhat disconnected in a professional way.

    So, there’s the social issue, but, then there’s how you get to know who can do what professionally through social means…ie: chat by the coffee machine on one’s latest project, and I learn that Julie knows a particular analysis software and its pitfalls while Phil knows a lot about tidal scour or Greg thinks like I do about presentation of certain design details.

    Even in a really connected department or firm, these are very useful to me and help me know who to reach out to. Otherwise, when I am building a team for a project, I need to rely on one of the two scheduling supervisors to give me the right person and they are frequently overwhelmed. They are grateful if I come to them with a suggestion of someone for staffing. Sometimes I ask for some skill they aren’t sure who has.

    It is exhausting.

    I spent a little while doing “cold calling” for introductions with others when I joined and took notes. It helped.

    Anyhow… yeah, that’s a different kind of socializing. But, I like it and people I’ve pulled into interesting projects because of it have seemed to enjoy the results.

  66. Mill Miker*

    In conjunction with the various methods for encouraging connection, it’s worth checking to make sure you’re not actively discouraging or even punishing the more organic ways people who work “on a team” form connections.

    I’ve seen places where people who are “working together” have their tasks scheduled for them, in a way where they’re never actually work on the same project at the same time as any of their so-called collaborators. Collaboration takes the form of Person A working on designs for Project 1 in the morning, then passing their work to a project manager who sends it to Person B to implement in the afternoon, while Person A switches to Project 2 to address an obstacle Person B had run in to in the morning. If A and B really do need to talk to each other, then they need to schedule a meeting with an agenda and the project budget needs to be adjusted to account for 2 people talking instead of producing for half an hour.

    And then the higher-ups were having constant discussions on how to get people to collaborate more.

    1. Mill Miker*

      And I know there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that approach to scheduling work, and that not doing things “in parallel” can take longer, but the trade off is that you stifle collaboration and relationship building. The issue is wanting your cake and eating it too.

  67. SpecialSpecialist*

    My team is realtively introverted, but we’re pretty outgoing with each other. We have a general Teams channel where we have random discussions using mostly memes and for saying goodbye so everybody knows who’s kicked off for the day. We also start every morning bright and early at 8am (yes…8am ugh..but at least its in sweatpants immediately after rolling out of bed) working on the daily crossword puzzle together. Somebody pulls it up and shares their screen, then we call out the answers. It’s surprisingly fun and gets people talking about random non-work-related stuff.

  68. Chilipepper Attitude*

    I have two master’s degrees. One fully in person, one fully remote.
    Except the remote one had a weekend orientation we had to attend in person.
    I was much more engaged with the students from the fully remote program than I was with the students from the in person program.

    I think the in-person weekend where we mostly had business meetings and one social, the online student chat (like slack), and a separate chat feature in all classes (like slack but just for students, no faculty) all created a team feeling.

    So to translate to business meetings: hold in-person business meetings (where it is relevant to the business need) but include a social component (a social hour with food?), and slack channels for communications.

    That would do it for me!

  69. A Pound of Obscure*

    I’m sure other commenters have mentioned this already, but I’d ask your employees what THEY want. You could create a poll with several options (surely other commenters have some good ones!) and a chance for them to suggest their own options, but I’d suggest making one of the choices “Nothing; I would rather keep my head down and do my job during working hours” or something like that. Sometimes I feel like trying to create or encourage connection in a world that’s already overly “connected” (digitally speaking) is a waste of time and effort. I am not a person that enjoys being pinged with nonessential messages more than once a day. Maybe twice if something really unusual is happening ;)

  70. itsame*

    There are two things that been most successful at increasing engagement with my coworkers at my current fully remote job, one coming from the organization and one coming from my coworkers themselves:

    1. Providing incentives for socialization activities – aka sending out food delivery/coffee gift certificates/etc. to people who participate in optional virtual social activities. I’ve found events are way, way more likely to have a critical mass of people show up if there’s a tangible incentive, and making it optional but incentivized makes it easier for me to feel excited about the event instead of just obligated.

    2. Having a space to talk to coworkers at my level without management/other higher level people involved. This one my coworkers and I created ourselves, both with a channel just for us on the company slack and with a fully separate chat on whatsapp that is completely divorced from official company accounts. It not only makes more important things like sharing concerns/salary issues/etc. with each other easier and safer, it’s also just more relaxing to have a conversation with your coworkers when you aren’t worried your boss is reading it as well.

    I don’t know if there’s any good way for a company to actively facilitate option number 2, though.

  71. lapis*

    A small thing we’ve started doing is at our monthly larger-team meeting (about 20 people), we’ve added an icebreaker where I put everyone in breakout rooms of 2 people for 5-7 minutes and ask them to talk about (1.) How would you describe your job in 30 seconds? (2.) What’s your favorite part of your job in 30-60 seconds? (3.) What’s your least favorite part of your job in 30-60 seconds? No report backs or anything, just a way for people to get to know what other people do. I assign the rooms manually so that I don’t get, e.g., someone talking to their direct-report/boss.

    I’ll probably have to change up the questions a bit going forward, but they’re good for several meetings at least. We’ve gotten good feedback on it.

  72. Brain the Brian*

    No great ideas on what *to* do, but one on what *not* to do: intentionally cut one of the department’s staffers out of the department’s weekly meeting early in the pandemic and then get angry with said staffer when they don’t know what’s going on or which items need their follow-up… but also get annoyed if they ask. This really does not work well. (Brain the Brian says from personal experience.)

  73. Sharon*

    Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the simple stuff. Make sure everybody has a list of who does what, and update it frequently so everybody can get information quickly or loop the right people into a project.

  74. Chickaletta*

    There was a really great article today (not sure if we’re allowed to post third party links?) analyzing the trend of “quiet quitting”, attributing much of it to employees feeling disengaged, especially remote workers and especially younger workers. Many of the reasons behind that is they don’t feel like they connect to their company’s mission/purpose, understand what is expected from them at work, or get a chance to discuss their work with their managers.

    So, I think that the real answer in how to engage people is simpler than you think – just communicate with them! You don’t need gimmicky team builders, games, or special meetings. You just need to set aside regular dedicated time, or connect purposefully in other ways like via email, with your employees. Especially focusing on new and younger employees, but overall engaging with all of them. Help them connect their work to the overall mission, set clear expectations, and provide training and career enrichment opportunities. Don’t leave it all up to the employee to figure this out on their own.

    1. A Quiet Quitter*

      This is very true. I started my job during the pandemic with a team that has been working together for 20+ years and all converted to remote when the opportunity was offered. Team calls are dominated by one or two personalities, and after two years I barely feel like I know anyone I work with (save the couple big talkers in our group). I tried multiple things to connect early on (many of which were suggested in other comments), but this group wasn’t interested in engaging. I do really value interpersonal connections at work, so it’s been a problem for me (for example, not knowing which team members would ally with me in disagreements over project approaches, so just not voicing opinions for risk of alienating myself even more). But I guess I can’t change a group feeling that they all already know everything they need and want to about each other.

      I’d feel more inclined to stay if there were more serious commitment to a couple social events or activities (nothing crazy, once a quarter?) to build this personal relationships and not assume everyone is on the same page. There’s just a massive tendency I see across the board right know to lump the opinions of all remote workers or all in person workers together, and honestly for me it just comes to an apathy about building coalitions in my current job.

  75. nobadcats*

    Honestly, I wish they’d just leave me alone. I run my own teams, have a once monthly virtual meeting with my boss and grandboss. After that, leave me alone.

  76. Keyboard Cowboy*

    As others have said, the group chat is super important – as well as making sure there’s space for non-business stuff in the group chat. When everyone’s in person, you chit-chat in slow moments, see each other at the coffee maker, and so on. That kind of social connection is absolutely vital for building a good rapport and working relationship, and seeing your teammates as people with personalities and preferences and feelings, rather than as faceless criticism machines or work product factories.

    If you can swing it, having regularly scheduled hangout time is great too – preferably over video, and absolutely phrased as “this counts as work.” Again, to prove to yourself that your teammates are humans who can make jokes and have interesting things to share and so on.

    Some key things that have worked well for my team in specific (software engineers, 6 people, partially distributed but all in the same timezone):
    – BoardGameArena. We all hop in a video chat and play board games online together for 90 minutes every week. Not everyone comes every time, and that’s okay, but it’s less uncomfortable than a formless video “happy hour” and we still get to know each other a bit better.
    – “Off-topic” group chat. Memes, food pictures/chat, peanut-gallery type jokes for presentations we’re in, asking for dentist recommendations – anything can go here (as long as we remember it’s still work, so politics/religion/trauma dumping/etc). We invite “friends of the team” whom we work closely with to this chat as well.
    – “Chalk talks.” This one applies fairly specifically to engineering or other mathy/sciencey jobs, but maybe is adaptable to other fields. Weekly, one-hour, zero-prep technical conversation, usually accompanied by visual aids such as drawing on a whiteboard. These cover things like “how does X feature work?” or “what happened with Y bug last week?” or “I’m stuck on Z problem, here’s what I’ve got so far.” When none of us are feeling it, sometimes these cover fun stuff outside of our team’s purpose – game theory, fiber crafting, fandom lore deep-dives, whatever sounds fun. Because we discourage people from preparing for the talk, you get to see senior folks make mistakes and try to explain things they might not fully understand. These talks probably do more for our team cohesion than anything else.
    – Occasionally getting together in person! And when we do get together in person, we do something to celebrate – lunch out, offsite fun thing, etc. This helps a lot too.

  77. DiplomaJill*

    Our org uses slack and has a robust set of non work channels, including doggos, cats, other pets, gardening, parents, lunch, coffee, teatime, things to watch, etc etc

    Also, we have recurring weekly optional 20 min department “coffee breaks” via Teams video call where we chat on non work things or even play group drawing games online.

    Finally, on my project teams I make sure to add opportunities for chit chat into my meetings, such as adding a fourth question to our stand ups like, what’s you favorite ice cream flavor? or such.

  78. Katie*

    We’ve done a lot of things! Long comment incoming. (Context: Small company (<40 people), fairly close-knit)
    For 2020, when we were fully remote, we tried to convert a lot of our pre-existing social events to virtual. This largely consisted of sending in photos, so for Halloween, "Send in photos of your pumpkins/decorations/costumes." (We posted them on our company Intranet.) We've always done a lot of holiday activities, so that first year we did the ones that could be made virtual. We had send-in-pictures on wear red & wear green days, and we did a big Zoom lunch together with ugly sweaters to replace our ugly sweater party/potluck. When in person we'd do things like a hot chocolate day, hot cider day, etc., so we did a "mug shot" day of sending a picture of your favorite mug. We also did a group Mad Libs, which my roommate's company had done too so I shamelessly stole the idea. (Putting the prompts (nouns, verbs, etc) in a Google sheet and people could fill in the blanks for however many they wanted.) Some non-holiday things we did were virtual lunches (which didn't last super long but we did them once a week) and Kahoot! tournaments; the organizer sent a list of possible topics and we voted, then the top contenders got played. (My roommate's company did a similar sporcle tournament.)
    When we went to hybrid in 2021, we started planning a lot more in-person events but tried to keep them virtual-friendly. I think the best example was our Halloween party; we still had it in-person with our traditional costume contest, (held off-site at a bar with patio heaters so we could be outside for better distancing, but of course it rained so we ended up inside anyway) but we also did a pumpkin carving contest that was completely virtual so people had an opportunity to compete in both. When COVID was ramping up again around the holidays, instead of doing our traditional in-office activities, our President gave the fun committee blessing to send care packages to each employee. The goal was basically to recreate our traditional in-office activities, so we sent hot drinks for hot cider/hot cocoa days, baked goods for bake-off days, everyone got a mug and an ornament plus just a bunch of tasty treats.
    We also have a Slack that's basically purely social (100% optional to join and though there are a few work channels, they're almost never used and we mostly post about our pets, pop culture recommendations, and other things), and that helps. This one may be a little more controversial, but when we first went remote we were always cameras off in meetings (my supervisor and I used them for one-on-ones but no one turned on in group meetings); due to the pandemic there were some pretty significant layoffs, and after that the company went to requesting cameras on in meetings because they wanted everyone to feel a little more connected; I'm sure some people hated the change but it went a long way for me in feeling more connected to people because I was seeing them instead of a little circle/profile picture with their name. In one of my standing weekly meetings, we make a point of sharing what we did over the weekend just to have some sort of social interaction for connection. (And it's perfectly fine/normal for someone to say "I didn't do much, here's what I'm working on this week" so no pressure to share.)

  79. ADHDer*

    Organisations need to dedicate resources to ensuring that remote work is not leading to workplace bullying, which is the single and only problem I have encountered with remote work (which I love). Make sure that your managers are not abusing that lack of oversight and eyes on them. Nothing makes a worker feel more isolated and disconnected than a bullying boss.

  80. SoloKid*

    Ask speakers to actually look at the camera once in awhile during large conference calls. We have a weekly “all company meeting” in a big room onsite and most of the speakers stand with their back to the laptop. Viewers at home often get a view of the speaker’s caboose.

  81. Mim*

    1. Reduce staff turnover. People don’t feel connected to some nebulous concept of a company. They feel connected to people. If you have high turnover, you will have low connection, because who TF are we supposed to connect to? (Hint: not our bosses.)

    2. Recognize that people have different communication styles, and value different types of connection. Forcing some extroverted and/or allistic set of standards and practices as connection is going to push a lot of people away. I feel connected when my work is respected, when I am trusted as an employee, and when I receive clear communications and have transparent access to information. I feel less connected when I am expected to participate in retreats and social gatherings, and doubly so when I need to put my health at risk to do so. An employer that truly cares about making sure its employees all feel connection is going to accept the diversity of ways in which connection can occur.

    3. Trust. Put your remote employees on salary. If you trust them enough to work remotely, don’t make them clock in and out like they’re third graders signing out the bathroom pass. (Hint: positions don’t need to be exempt status to be on salary.) Heck, put all your employees who work regular predictable schedules on salary. When we feel respected and trusted, we feel more connected and more loyalty. If you don’t trust someone enough to do their work, and can’t tell if they’re doing their work unless they are clocking in and out, that is a management problem. Hire better managers. Managers who are truly connected can judge whether things are going well by the work getting done, not by timestamps in ADP. Being on salary motivates people to do good and efficient work. Being hourly motivates people to streeeeetch the work out and watch the clock. Which do you want?

    1. Mim*

      I realize this goes beyond the team connectedness thing, and is more colored by recent and ongoing surveys/efforts at my employer, where they seem to be concerned about the idea of connectedness more generally but also ignoring all feedback and only pushing on the same types of things they have always done. But at least points 1 and 2 still holds for the specific issue of team connectedness. Nobody is going to feel connected to their teams if half the team turns over every 6 months.

  82. Workfromhome*

    ASK them what would make them feel more connected and what they dont want. Preferably through some kind of anonymous survey . Pay close attention to what people dont want even if its only a few of them.
    I say this from experience because my company and my dept in particular had “low engagement” results. We have some departments that are more entry level younger employees on the phones.
    They used to have team lunchs events etc and were very social.
    My team is almost all older experienced high level workers spread out across the country. Most of our work is remote by nature.

    They decided that Zoom happy hours calls, contests , sharing photos of your workspace and even team “remote events” were what the entry level group wanted to be more like what they had before.
    I want that stuff like I want a hole in the head. After 7 hours of zoom meetings the last thing I want is a zoom happy hour taking up my time or even after hours time. All I wanted to do was shut my PC off and get away from work. I dealt with requests coming in though chats all day. Last thing I want to to have my chat cluttered up with jokes and recipe sharing.

    Forcing people to “connect” is sometimes worse than letting them disconnect and recharge.

  83. JustMe*

    I’ll be honest–I think employers think this is more important than it actually is.

    At OldJob my boss tried to manufacture a lot of office bonding activities. Some were great (office holiday party was online and a magician told jokes and did magic on Zoom, which was actually really fun) but many were awkward (joining a Zoom meeting where we were randomly assigned to breakout rooms to mingle) and some were terrible (forcing us to do pseudo-scientific team building personality tests/discussions about finding our true potential). Have a few to celebrate your employees around the holidays, but don’t force it. If your employees were concerned about having deep connections with their colleagues (such as what may or may not be formed in an in-person office) they’d probably leave and go do that. Most employees are content to just do their work, talk to colleagues when necessary, and then be done for the day.

  84. catsforbrains*

    I appreciate the range of responses here. Some people seem perfectly happy in companies and with rituals that would drive me nuts – that’s why knowing your people is so important!

    A thing I’ve been thinking about as I try to build a comfortable culture at my new job is that a lot of this connection is about desired level of intimacy, and not just shared interests. (I liked the real-head sports fan discussing how hard it can be to talk to fairweather fans.) There are folks who feel happy and connected by keeping it light and positive, folks who’d rather communicate warmth fully in a business context and in one on ones.

    Personally, I’ve been in a lot of situations at work where folks don’t share my interests, or where I’ve needed a little extra gentleness from mental health issues/difficult times in my life that “keeping it light” doesn’t account for. Shared interest channels don’t give me the opportunity to find people who fear their interests would be too niche or out of step with a “keep it light” culture.

    In a remote-first office, how do you find the weirdos? And how do you find the people who want to connect over shared emotional experiences rather than shared interests?

  85. Fez Knots*

    Not to be a curmudgeon, but the thing that best promotes my own well-being is…not being at work.

    I have a lot of coworkers who claim to miss the togetherness of the office but when activities are set up, Zoom meetings are scheduled or (briefly) a shared office space is provided very few, if any, people show up.

    I don’t want to socialize at work and feeling obligated to makes me more exhausted.

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