By Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV

Building meaningful relationships in the workplace is beneficial for lots of reasons.

Having a friend or mentor means you have someone to confide in and use as a sounding board; someone who can champion your successes and support your career ambitions. But in today’s hybrid landscape, forging closer bonds with colleagues is not always easy.

TopCV recently surveyed 1,000 UK professionals about their working preferences. One-third (34%) said they rarely socialise with colleagues outside work. Part of this may be because there are fewer chances to network informally and in person – our colleagues simply aren’t in the office as much. And, even when the opportunity does present itself, striking up a conversation is something that many can find daunting. Only 27% of those we surveyed felt they could build effective relationships remotely.

The reality is that building your social network and being visible at work is not just a social nicety; it’s also good for your career prospects. When you’re in situations where you mingle with colleagues, you can gain intel about upcoming opportunities to propel your career. It also puts you on the radar of more senior members of the team who may be in charge of handing out project assignments and promotions.

But what if you’re working entirely offsite? You may be relieved not to have to join the post-work pint in the local, but it still pays dividends to put in some effort. Here are my top tips for building effective relationships with colleagues when you can’t be in the same room.

#1: Arrange one-to-one video calls 

Diving into a big group meeting online can be overwhelming; if you’re not very confident in such settings, it’s easy for your voice to get lost in the mix. Instead, initiate one-to-one video calls with various colleagues to get to know them better. It’s a more personal approach than group meetings and allows for deeper conversations. If you’ve not spoken to that individual before, ask another colleague to introduce you. Always be sure to follow up afterwards to express appreciation for the conversation or to continue the discussion further.

#2: Organise a virtual event

If your company doesn’t sponsor virtual activities, consider organising your own event to get to better know your colleagues in a more relaxed setting. It could be as simple as establishing a book club, setting up a watch party or organising a virtual team-building event.

#3: Use instant messaging wisely

Instant messaging can be great to reaffirm new relationships but it’s important to exercise caution in how and when it’s used. Instant messaging platforms can be great for quick check-ins, sharing interesting articles, or sending kudos for a job well done. But remember to respect boundaries and not overwhelm your colleagues.

In a hybrid working environment, these measures can strengthen any in-person networking efforts and ensure that being physically apart doesn’t diminish your working relationships. Be patient and continue to put in the work to establish better connections with those around you. You’ll grow not only your network but also your career prospects.

About TopCV

By Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV

TopCV, a Talent Inc. company, is the world’s premier CV-writing service, analysing millions of CVs and LinkedIn profiles each year. Job seekers work directly with professional writers and industry experts to redefine their personal brand and stand out from the crowd during the job-search process. Follow TopCV on FacebookLinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

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