4 Ways to Build Work Relationships In 2021

Fa calendar 16 grey February 1, 2021   
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Distance working really tested teamwork in 2020, but we can do better as 2021 advances. Here are some tips for managing this.

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Photo credit: Geralt

Both professionally and personally, work relationships have always been important. When you join a new team, you immediately have a selection of people who are — roughly speaking — on your side. It’s good for the business that you get along, and having so many opportunities to interact makes you reasonably likely to become friends.

But just as it devastated so many other things, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 shattered typical workplace associations. Colleagues who’d been sharing offices quickly found themselves working in isolation from their homes, and it made it incredibly difficult to keep their relationships going. Their daily experiences were far more distinct, after all.

Coming up to a year since that event, COVID-19 hasn’t gone anywhere, and we’re still waiting for things to get better. Given the importance of work relationships, we need to find ways to cultivate and protect them despite the challenging circumstances — and that’s what we’re going to look at in this piece. Here are four ways in which you can build work relationships in 2021:

1. Team up on projects

The more closely you work with someone, the more you get to know them — and when you can’t work physically closely, you can find ways to share a workload. Why not come up with a content idea that you attempt with a colleague? You could create a complex project proposal, split a lengthy article, or even team up on something more interesting like a podcast.

Podcasts in particular are proving remarkable for bolstering work relationships in the digital age, and not just those among people who work for the same companies. Professionals in industries that rely on promotion will team up on episode appearances: expert one appears on expert two’s podcast, both promote it, and each gets to benefit. Check out a leading marketing podcast such as Marketing Speak to see how this works: regular guest appearances build relationships and work wonders for PR.

2. Regularly discuss media

The consumption of digital media has gone up massively for obvious reasons, but water-cooler conversation has fallen off due to the lack of water coolers in people’s homes. This can lead to people watching and listening to the same things but not actually knowing they’ve done so — and if they don’t know their shared experiences, they can’t talk about them.

This is why there’s a lot of value in agreeing to read, watch or listen to some of the same things, all leading up to scheduled discussions. We just touched upon podcasts, so you could start listening to the same podcasts as one of your colleagues and having interesting exchanges about your thoughts on each episode — or you could try checking out the same online courses and talking about the course material to improve understanding.

3. Hold virtual socials

It’s easy to allow the working-from-home separation to settle in when you’re used to seeing people in person. If you’re the sociable type, you might like few things more than getting some drinks with your colleagues, but that isn’t viable at the moment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize with them at all, though. You just need to get creative.

Virtual socials allow you to have some drinks together (but separately). Plan a Zoom meeting for the evening, pick up some beverages beforehand, and share some anecdotes. It won’t be the same as having a typical work social, and it won’t even come close to being as good — but it’ll be something, and it’ll give you a chance to speak to people you don’t normally speak to.

4. Run mutual training

We all need to keep improving our skills these days, both to stave off the boredom of lockdown life and to protect our fragile careers (enough people have been fired or furloughed to make anyone feel insecure). And while training is most commonly a solo endeavor, it doesn’t need to be. Companies can actually save time and effort by encouraging mutual training.

How does this work? It’s very simple: when there are two professionals who can learn from each other, they can arrange some training sessions. A marketer can pass some promotional tips to a software developer, and they can return the favor with some technical advice. If members of a team train one another, they can improve their skills and further their relationships. In the end, everyone benefits (with the exception of training agencies).

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Comments

    Steven | February 10, 2021 04:43

    Right


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