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You’ve heard us say it many times here at Choice: relationships are at the heart of everything we do. Whether it is with our clients, our contacts, our families, our friends or each other, relationships come first. Always.

You will see from our recent InstaStory series, #WorkplaceWednesday, that the Choice team works from many different places each week. Somedays, we are working from our shared office space, Espaces. Somedays we are working from our home offices. Somedays we are traveling and working from the road. And, some days you can find us at a local coffee shop or even the car shop while our car gets fixed.

More and more, companies are shifting to this work dynamic. In fact, nearly eight million people worked remotely last year. So, with a rise in remote work environments, how do we stay connected with our coworkers?

I live in East Tennessee and work from home most of the time. Previously, I’ve shared my tactics to work from home without losing your mind. But I wanted to talk specifically about connecting with the team when I live and work three hours away.

After more than four years of the WFH life, here’s what I’ve learned:

Invest when we are together: Since we don’t get a ton of time all together in one place, we make a point of celebrating when we do. We have monthly brainstorms with our entire team and almost always go out to lunch together after that meeting. We celebrate every possible thing we can together from birthdays and engagements, to work anniversaries and holidays. We do a yearly retreat, which is focused on planning for the next year but is also an opportunity to spend uninterrupted time with each other. I have learned so much about these women from this time with each other outside of the office. I look forward to spending time with our team and love to celebrate anything and everything with them.

When in doubt, pick up the phone: It can be easy to feel like you are on an island by yourself when you work from home and your team is in the office together. One thing I’ve found super helpful is to pick up the phone or hop on video conference with one of my coworkers, rather than just send them a Slack message or email. This allows for better communication and connection and ensures I get to see their gorgeous smiling faces often.

Make time for catch ups: And while we are on that phone call or video conference, I make it a point to check in with them on what’s happening in their world outside of work. I truly care about each of them and want to know how they are doing. And if I have a spare 15 or 20 minutes, I see if they are free to catch up.

All relationships need time and investment to work well. It is important to be intentional about time when you have it – whether it is in-person, over the phone, or on video.

Do you have team members that work remotely? How do you stay connected from far away? And don’t forget to check out #WorkspaceWednesdays on Instagram to see where we are working each week!

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AUTHOR: Kerry Gardner
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