Thinking about how to stay connected when working remotely?
You are not alone! we all feel a bit disconnected, working from home (some of us, permanently).
Connecting with your co-workers when you work remotely doesn’t have to be a pain, a chore, or a struggle.
Staying connected while working from home should come naturally, whether you’re talking to customers, vendors, coworkers, managers, or direct reports.
Whether you’ve just started working from home with a new remote job or have been working remotely for years, it’s true that working from home can have psychological effects.
I thrive on human connection, big time.
I like the collaboration. I like to meet face to face. i like working in coworking spaces, work cafes in brooklyn and coffee shops around the world.
I like all of these things, but I also appreciate my flexible work-from-home schedule.
To combat the feeling of loneliness while working from home, fortunately we have the kind of technology that makes it easy to interact with another real person, at the click of a button.
This is why so many work-from-home trends have immediately shaped the way we connect with each other.
This isn’t the way it’s always been, which is evident if you google “ways to stay connected while working from home” and stumble upon the article from 2007. You’ll quickly see how much has changed (for example, the word “teleconference”… what is that?).
In the following tips, we’ll cover remote work communication baselines, apps and tools that set you up to stay in touch while working from home, and a list of great ways to stay connected with co-workers, clients, and clients. and friends. .
Let’s start by first mentioning useful tips for communicating when working remotely.
10 useful rules for communication in remote work
These are my top 10 things to keep in mind when communicating as a remote worker.
if you’ve ever heard of “being seen and not heard”, it’s the opposite for someone who works from home.
You want to be heard and hopefully “seen” (on video)!
through your communication, whether by email, text, phone, chat or social media, here’s when and how to communicate:
- Check in frequently.
- Check in when you have questions.
- Check in when you have questions.
- Check in when you have concerns.
- reach out when you have feedback.
- reach out when you have results or successes.
- communicate your schedule.
- communicate updates.
- communicate eloquently.
- communicate clearly.
Remember: appearing “unavailable” or mine is one of the most common mistakes people make when working remotely.
communication applications and software to work from home
You’re probably an expert when it comes to tips for working from home effectively, and those tips start with the communication, apps, and software you live and breathe on a daily basis.
These are some of the apps, websites, and software packages we use on a daily basis while working remotely. maybe you’ll get some new ideas!
slack is a professional and social communication platform that enables organizations to have streamlined communications. is an app that is popular with technology companies and remote organizations, startups, and online professional or social communities.
Personally, I really like slack. it makes communication fun (maybe too much fun?) and has many options for an organization or network of people. slack allows me to keep in touch with my colleagues and also with any foreign team we work with.
I belong to ten ‘slack workspaces’. this means that within my slack app, both on desktop and on my phone, I can toggle between a client’s “workspace” (a “workspace” is a virtual place that I can access contacts within a certain organization, along with its channels) and a professional network, such as Ladies Charge or Remote Year.
Within each workspace, you can join channels that are public (open to any member of that workspace) or private, meaning a channel is only for those who are invited, to keep information private from the rest of the organization in that workspace.
In addition, you can direct message anyone for a one-on-one conversation, and from there you can create smaller dialogues between more than two people if you’re talking about something or have something to discuss. could have an instant communication or, on the contrary, an asynchronous communication.
slack also streamlines communication, because you can react to a message or announcement with an emoji, instead of “pumping up” the amount of text that would be involved in replying with “great!” or “I agree!”
slack is great, and some organizations (mainly social ones) choose to have the free version, which, if you use it, be aware that it only stores 10,000 of the most recent messages across the organization.
If the slack community has 30,000 people, this can typically mean (depending on user activity) that you won’t be able to see or search for any messages older than seven days.
In any case, slack is a great communication tool for organizations, and if you want to make big changes, I can recommend it. you could even start your own slack community.
skype for business
skype for business is popular with more traditional corporations.
within skype for business, you have an internal communication system with a “friends list”, inspired by the target of the 90’s (apparently), where you can access all corporate contacts within a network or organization.
You can see the photos, titles and names of the users, and you can create direct instant messages or create groups.
skype for business integrates with other platforms such as microsoft office, so it can be linked to programs on the microsoft platform such as outlook, calendar, sharepoint and onedrive.
Finally, you can join a skype for business meeting by simply clicking the “join meeting” button, whether on a desktop or mobile device.
“teams”, as it is now called, seems to be microsoft’s answer to slack.
it’s a slack-y program with a list of members of your organization on the left side and chat space on the rest of the screen.
You can also receive phone calls and video calls within Teams, if your organization allows it, and therefore you can receive voice messages there as well.
Personally, I don’t like teams. it’s clumsy. it’s not as much fun to use as slack, not at all. it’s not technology compatible and I keep trying to remove it from my computer, but it keeps showing up.
If you have strong opinions about microsoft teams for remote work, feel free to let me know.
Whatsapp is a chat app that I came across when I was living in China as an expat, around 2011. It was first launched in 2009, which makes it a veteran app among other apps.
I paid $1 for whatsapp in 2011. I’m not sure how. I found out later that whatsapp is free and they shouldn’t have charged me $1. In any case, I definitely got my dollar’s worth over the last decade.
whatsapp started out as the ideal way to text someone “over the internet” if you were both in other countries. I still find it more effective and reliable than iMessage when I’m traveling and away from home.
surprisingly, or not surprisingly, i even use whatsapp while at home on my couch or in my home office to talk to friends who have androids as it feels faster than texting them and not knowing if my iphone is agree with the whole sms snippet.
Going back to discussing whether you can use whatsapp for work, the answer is sure.
if you have contacts (customers, suppliers, colleagues) who are in other countries, whatsapp (from your work number) is an ideal way to have the other within reach if you have to talk outside the work platforms .
whatsapp is also useful for anyone who wants to set up a large group chat.
Did you know that whatsapp will allow you to have 256 members in a single group chat? this is useful for people who have something in common, like attending an event together or planning a project on the go.
Most people we know also use it to keep in touch with large groups of friends.
formerly known as gchat, yes it’s google hangouts!
hangouts currently allows you to chat with your google/gmail contacts and make a voice or video call to them. I have had interviews, meetings and chats on google hangouts.
For organizations that use gmail as their default mail platform, hangouts are ultimately the way to talk to co-workers within an organization.
I was introduced to ring central in 2020.
It has been one of the most interesting ways to maintain contact with work contacts and carry out work communications. here’s why.
ring central is a phone application that you can have within an organization. For my use, I have a central ring phone number that is completely different from my personal phone number. is a work phone number.
I have the ring central app on my personal cell phone. when I receive a call through ring central, it has a different ringtone than when I receive a call through my usual personal cell phone number.
ring central also has a voice mail. It also has a “do not disturb/do not disturb” feature that you could use on the weekends if you don’t want to receive calls or texts from work.
You can add contacts to the Ring Central address book without adding a work contact to your mobile phone’s personal contacts. that’s really convenient and I like the ability to split things.
I also use the ring central app on my computer. in fact i downloaded the old one and the new one and often when i get a text it automatically opens both apps. I could probably remove one or the other, but as you can see, I’m not the best at removing apps I don’t like and don’t need.
The really convenient thing about using ring central as a remote work communication method is that I can text from my desktop, just like when mac users use iMessage from the desktop app. this is a lifesaver.
I can’t imagine texting work contacts with a tiny keyboard on my phone and making my thumbs hurt.
Overall, ring central is a bit of a clunky app that’s definitely not beautiful and maybe not even that much fun to use (I’m getting errors that photo files are too large to send in the new desktop app, but the previous version allows me to command them, for example); however, if you learn its nuances, it’s functional and gets the job done.
google calendar is life, as expressed in our guide to the most useful applications we use. google calendar is where I store all my information about organizations, events, clients, companies and staff, regarding where I need to be (online) and when.
I like that google calendar allows you to send events with the ‘event location’ as the url for a zoom call for example, and when it’s the start time of that event all you have to do is click in the url and you are joining a meeting. it’s so perfect.
zoom is a video platform that allows professionals to meet and even hold conference-style sessions via video.
with zoom, there are options like q & a box for attendees, breakout sessions (I was in my first auto breakout session at a zoom event this week), panelist and admin skills, and screen sharing.
zoom also allows you to record sessions, which means you can save a file later and refer back to it, if you’re the host. zoom also has some emojis, some virtual backgrounds (so you can hide your messy room), and some fun (albeit very basic and almost painful) filters like hats and sunglasses.
what I like about zoom is the simplicity of sharing a screen and sharing what’s on your screen in presentation form.
I also really like the features of being able to draw, highlight and erase, and “mark up” the screen for viewers during the presentation.
zoom is surely here to stay, and I also use it socially with my family across the country so we can have face-to-face time every week.
fun ways to stay in touch with co-workers while working remotely
hopefully your co-workers are fun and want to keep in touch with you and each other. Finding cool ways to stay connected is the answer to empowering employees who work from home.
Spending time on non-work activities with co-workers has been proven to strengthen workplace relationships.
when you’re in the office, having lunch with a co-worker, going to the coffee shop below the office, or taking your team out for happy hour.
When you work from home, how do social activities and human interactions translate into online communication methods? we need fun ways to stay connected virtually!
here are some perfect ideas.
don’t be afraid to make a phone call.
emails are easy to ignore.
so are instant messages and slack dms.
With a phone call, you can get your point across, make sure your tone isn’t misunderstood, and put a voice on your behalf.
Especially when you go remote, keeping in touch with your co-workers on a phone call helps avoid misunderstandings.
use video as a way to connect and remember to be professional.
If you plan to have a video call, or if you’re expected to dial in the team meeting with video, make sure your home office setup is in tip-top shape!
There are a lot of things to keep in mind when videotaping co-workers, like looking presentable and smart, and removing background noise. however, one thing is for sure: you don’t actually have to wear pants.
I look forward to the weekly team meeting.
Instead of canceling a virtual team meeting if everyone says they’re too busy or problems arise, reschedule the meeting for a better time. seeing other humans on the other side of the screen confirms to everyone that you exist behind the words in the emails.
collaborate on files, projects and presentations in real time.
Have you ever worked on a shared google spreadsheet and loved seeing your colleague’s edits in real time? For me, that is one of the best gifts that technology has given us.
Express your voice and add meaning in weak channels.
if there were ever any loose rules, they would be “refrain from ‘exploiting’ channels by adding one-word replies or nonsensical contributions.”
To make slack fun yet effective, start channels on how to be productive or ways to streamline work and invite others. create custom emojis that relate to vernacular or trusted words from your organization’s vocabulary. raise issues before others can and provide solutions and positivity.
Today I started a new slack channel in my organization to congratulate other co-workers who are doing something great. I hope it sticks I hope others see this idea and spread positivity to their companies.
be in the entire google calendar or in your organization’s calendar system.
Schedule even the smallest recovery session, and the recipient will likely appreciate it.
People (including you and me!) can be very protective of the time in their days, so keeping meetings scheduled short and to the point can be a small thing that goes a long way.
manage projects, deadlines and ideas between trello in remote teams.
use trello to stay on task.
trello is a great tool that makes to-do lists and progress fun again (in my opinion), for distributed teams.
Collaborate by starting custom labels, color coding, and setting precise deadlines.
start a “water cooler” channel on slack or teams.
remember the water cooler and coffee station in the office?
well, it may be a long way, depending on how far you are from said office, but that doesn’t mean the talk is over.
Start a “water cooler” slack channel that employees can drop by when they need a little energy or a 2-minute break. Ask how your colleagues’ days are going, offer relevant news or fun facts, or ask a question that everyone can answer.
schedule virtual lunch dates.
Put time on the calendar to have a video lunch with a co-worker who used to be your lunch buddy, or spend time with a colleague across the country or across the ocean.
“lunch” is just a placeholder. have a virtual coffee as an idea for a social gathering or, as I wrote above, have lunch at 1:00 p.m. m. with a colleague in an international office who has just started his day.
maintain human company culture through personal milestone updates.
Start a slack or teams channel (or recurring email) for employee life milestones like engagements, weddings, babies, and milestones. everyone loves a good “congrats!” gif here and there.
pets count too! Does your organization have a virtual place to share photos of cats, dogs, and birds, and other fuzzy family members back home? pet adoptions count entirely as personal milestones.
start a virtual book club for the entire company.
You can do this through slack or whatever communication tool you use company-wide. you’ll want to post a book poll where people can vote for them. lastly, you can use that same tool, or something like calendly to find a time to meet everyone.
The ‘book club’ itself can take place in a virtual meeting via zoom, attended by all club members on a monthly or bi-weekly basis.
Be sure to communicate clearly (see tips above) about deadlines and which chapters need to be read by when. I definitely showed up to my first virtual book club meeting after reading the wrong chapters.
organize an after-work cooking competition between teams or co-workers.
What if cuisine was rated on how it looked and not how it tasted? would we all be champions?
This is good news for chefs who focus on the plating, not the taste, because if you’re hosting a company-wide cooking competition, it’s the photos that count!
To host a virtual cooking competition at work, set some rules, like a theme or a challenge (“ingredients must be under $20” might be an idea).
Next, give the contestants time to prepare. if you are going to present your creations live, make sure everyone is available and the date is on the calendar well in advance.
then, the vote! How will the vote be done? Will there be a panel of judges or will the entire organization vote from their desks at home?
This is a type of event that could be held monthly or semi-annually so everyone can look forward to it.
Start an email thread or channel with the joke of the day or video of the week.
If your co-workers are witty, fun-loving, and comedic, share jokes or videos that make people laugh as they check their emails.
I once had a co-worker and we had a 40+ email meme chain. that’s a good memory from the year 2014. i wish someone would send me weekly memes these days! (feel free to email me).
Start meetings on a positive personal note and commit to tradition.
Start meetings with “today I…” or “I just had a…” to remind yourself that everyone is human first and remote worker second.
small wins are good too. For example: “I made my own coffee today and didn’t spill anything on my way to my desk in my home office.”
I bet you can hear the virtual applause by now.
plan a virtual talent show for the entire organization.
If you’re in touch with your company’s head of culture or human resources, propose a company-wide talent show that can be scheduled via zoom. can be for fun or competitive with scoring.
take breaks to play an online game with colleagues (if company culture allows).
Join your peers in online and virtual games like scrabble or any other competitive online game out there these days.
Only the lighthearted ones though, as we don’t want to see anyone’s super dark competitive side just yet.
start a chain project across the company.
A great idea for dispersed companies with virtual teams is to start a company-wide project.
It could be “write a movie” or “rewrite a popular TV show,” with each department leader or employee adding a new sentence each week in a chained email.
try “meet your team” to incorporate social elements into virtual work.
Ideal for remote teams or departments, this communication tool proposes questions that build rapport and icebreaker questions for new hires.
integrates with slack.
use “doughnut” for “first dates”.
donut is a nice slack integration that randomly “sets up” pairs of employees in the donut channel for virtual first dates (which can also be translated into real life).
I’ve used donut both in person and virtually, and made some great connections.
donut will randomly match you up, ask an icebreaker question like “if I were a superhero, would I be…” and then check back with you a week later to make sure you “met”, no matter how it went out the meeting. place.
reiterate that the door to your virtual office is always open.
Keeping the door to your virtual office open is more of a mindset and something to say, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
make sure your colleagues feel comfortable cold-calling or asking for help, rather than worrying about “bothering” you instead.
establish a monthly e-learning luncheon.
lunch-and-learns are a great way for an employee with a certain specialty to share a skill with the rest of an organization.
Anyone can virtually “stop by” (over lunch) and learn about this specialty or skill, with a Q&A at the end.
Start a remote work mentoring program within your organization.
If someone in the organization is new to remote work, be the first to offer to answer questions; For example, provide this work from home guide for beginners.
the best ways to network and stay in touch with professional contacts
Not all work relationships are with coworkers, especially if you’re a small business owner or self-employed.
Your closest contacts may be customers, vendors, publishers, artists, service providers, or many other types of relationships.
What kinds of ways are appropriate for managing remote relationships with professional contacts and colleagues?
use whatsapp for work (ideal if you have a “work phone”).
whatsapp is a good tool to reach clients or work contacts, especially if you have a separate work phone, work phone number or even a google fi number.
whatsapp makes international calls not cost a lot of money and you can also record videos.
for freelancers, keep track of clients and use ‘snooze’.
The snooze button can be magical for freelancers, especially if you’re waiting for updates or developments from someone outside of your organization.
I put off my emails, and if I don’t hear back by a specific date, I politely follow up with the information I need to move forward.
create a walk-in happy hour via zoom for co-workers or clients.
Looking for a way to provide an online meeting or a virtual meeting? Create a zoom meeting link and send it to customers or vendors, who can “drop by” your online happy hour and chat.
Use social media to connect with customers, vendors, and networking contacts.
Social media is power, especially in the creative world! Be honest, proactive, and clear when showing off your offers or business updates on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
interact during webinars using zoom Q&A or gotowebinar.
Webinars are mostly one-way, as a speaker provides information to attendees, but interacting with speakers or hosts through Q&A sessions can create meaningful relationships.
Never hesitate to ask a question, get an answer, and follow up with a personal email later.
Be available and be the first to respond when contacted.
While being glued to work phone, work email, or work slack can be tiring, draining, and less than optimal for mental health, it’s part of the hustle of remote work.
Even if you don’t have time to fully respond to an email, I like to reply with “hi, I’m reading this and will reply soon, don’t worry!” so it doesn’t look like I’m ignoring anyone.
The challenge will always be that you just don’t know what’s going on on the other side of the screen, so think of solutions that work for you.
Join a professional network and meet other like-minded professionals.
I am part of various online networks of professionals outside of my specific job, organization and industry, and this is what has changed my professional life so much since the beginning of my membership in all of these.
I communicate regularly with contacts through a remote year, some of which have turned into professional relationships, much to my surprise.
I can say the same for the ladies get paid (lgp) women’s network, which has given me opportunities like hosting a webinar on advice for women starting to work remotely.
Recently, I became a part of the Morning Beer Business Accelerator Alumni Slack Community after completing my Essential Morning Beer Business Accelerator program. this was a huge advantage that I didn’t even know about before starting this eight-week “intensive” business skills program that allowed me to interact with professionals from all over the country, every week, for two months.
ways to stay connected with friends and family when working from home
In addition to staying connected with coworkers and fostering a sense of camaraderie, we need fun things to do virtually with friends who may no longer live in our town, or whose schedules just don’t mesh with ours.
Here are some fun ways to stay in touch with friends and family when working remotely from home.
end each day with a facetime.
I’ve been ending my day (or thus starting my night) with a facetime call more and more.
I have a group chat with my friends from high school and we finally found out that you can press “facetime” in your messages and it sends a video call invite to everyone in the chat.
then you can record a video with anyone who answers!
surprise someone with a “real phone call”.
a real phone call: what is that?
We talk to our parents on the phone and it helps us catch up on our days and what’s going on in our lives much more clearly than texting.
Pick up the phone to make a call and hear someone’s voice! it will make you smile.
try the video on instagram.
Instagram video chat is one of the newest video methods, besides video via whatsapp, google hangouts, facebook messenger and more.
Although I don’t do it often, if I’m talking in depth with a friend via instagram (usually starts with a photo chat!), I’ll click “video” to surprise him or her.
make time for group calls like sharing virtual dinners.
We shared dinner the other night with a couple of other friends who live in Washington, DC, and it almost felt like they were on a double date. I recommend it!
party on netflix with your best friends.
our friend cyd from @goaltraveler introduced us to the netflix party.
what is netflix party? I had to know!
With netflix party mode, you can stream simultaneously with friends – there’s a chat window and a play/pause option so everyone stays in sync. Sounds like virtual movie night to me!
practice a new language with a friend in another country.
The last cool way I like to feel productive and engaged while seeing my friends’ faces is to practice Spanish with friends in Argentina.
facetime makes people around the world feel connected, and borders don’t end with the borders of your home country!
I do a facetime with my friend Ayelen and she speaks to me completely in Spanish, so I have to keep up with her. she corrects my grammar, answers my questions, and teaches me slang.
I also have to figure out what he’s saying because of his charming porteño accent.
My advice is to make a weekly time to talk face to face with a friend who will teach you another language, because some of the best learning can be done at home.
stay up to date with current events
While working from home, Dan and I miss the chats we used to have with co-workers and friends.
dan used to spend a little time making coffee in his office and becca liked to meet up with friends who worked in the same part of manhattan.
In our spare time during the workday, we would catch up with people and talk about things they had recently found interesting.
this could have been talking about a new iphone or a new book someone read. maybe it’s an interesting podcast, or three.
Because we now work from home and no longer have this chat, we feel like we miss out on current events.
dan and I subscribe to different media and outlets as we not only want to stay in touch with local news, but we also like to stay in touch with things of our respective professional interests.
The following list includes our two recommendations!
the morning bulletins
If you’ve followed our story, you know we love to talk about coffee. morning newsletters give us a snapshot of current events in a few different categories.
I subscribe to the main mailing list and dan also subscribes to the tech and marketing lists. we like to read this newsletter over our morning coffee or wait for you to boil some water (to make coffee).
- subscribe to morning brew newsletter
- subscribe to morning brew emerging technology newsletter
- subscribe to morning brew marketing newsletter
podcasts to stay up to date with current events
I’ve always had a hard time finding news I want to read about and then sitting down to read about it. it’s also daunting to know where to start!
In March 2018, after returning from our trip around the world while working remotely, I somehow started listening to podcasts.
I learned that I could “digest” the news and learn more about it by turning on a podcast while walking or doing chores.
Soon, I was totally addicted (in a good way!).
I love to talk at length about the podcasts I follow, and most of them are related to current affairs or politics.
I find that listening to a podcast on these topics makes the news more interesting and I feel like podcasts have become routine for me now.
consider this, by npr
This podcast comes from npr, which is a good news source that also publishes a podcast called “up first”. I was introduced to npr podcasts earlier this year by a friend!
listen to consider this
today, explained, from vox
somehow, “today, explained” became one of the podcasts I listen to every day. I’m not kidding! I like that the presenter is fun and carefree, and that all the topics are current and varied.
The podcast brings together experts on politics, current affairs, science and climate change, business and more.
listen today explained
many times: the diary
many people will consider the newspaper one of their favorite podcasts to find out what is happening in the world, right now, from one of the most reliable sources (the new york times).
I like the newspaper because I trust the information and the duration of the podcasts is very acceptable, 20 to 25 minutes.
listen to the diary
the economist’s podcast
The Economist is one of the podcasts I try to listen to because it exposes me to topics that I wouldn’t normally look for in my regular news.
This podcast focuses on business-related topics and provides an overview of how they affect the world.
listen to the economists podcast
pod save america, from corrupt media
pod save america brings humor to American political events and the hosts are very nice.
These are usually longer format, sometimes 50-70 minutes long.
listen pod save america
podcasts to stay up to date on web development, technology and photography
dan listens to a few podcasts to help stay connected to current events happening in the tech world.
here is a list with some highlights on what to expect from each podcast.
shopping talk show
You will hear a conversation about some of the latest developments in web development.
You may hear something new about a browser or a new web technology.
other days, you may hear about different code editors or cms platforms. you’ll learn something every time you listen.
listen to the shopping talk show
waveform: the mkbhd podcast
I subscribe to mkbhd on youtube and he is my go to source for tech news. His podcast goes a little deeper into talking about the new technology that’s coming out.
I like it because it keeps you up to date with new phones, computers, game consoles and more.
listen to the waveform
the stalman podcast
stalman’s podcast will fill you in on all things being a creator. this podcast is ideal for anyone in the world of photography, videography, and technology.
the podcast is very well done and there is also a video component that you can watch.
listen to (or watch) stalman’s podcast
the colin and samir podcast
Now that we’re talking about creator podcasts, colin and samir’s podcast is a good one to stay connected with creator news, marketing ideas, and more.
They are great storytellers and analyze a lot of popular content that is currently relevant.
listen (or watch) colin and samir’s podcast
matti & pete’s show
matti haapoja and peter mckinnon run this show. they often talk about youtube trends, entrepreneurship and teams.
In addition to running this podcast, they are some of my favorite youtubers (I wrote about some of my favorite photography youtubers here!).
Listen to (or watch) the program matti & pete show
the vergecast is hosted by nilay patel and dieter bohn.
Their introduction speaks for itself when they say: […] informative look at what’s happening now (and what’s next) in the world of technology and devices.
You will hear relevant news in the world of technology and opinions on things like phones, apple devices and more.
listen to the vergecast
The Adobe XD Wireframe Podcast reveals stories related to user experience and the art of design.
This is a great listen to discover design, not only visually, but also in design experiences with everyday life. some of the episodes are really interesting!
last updated on August 20, 2022
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