Staying Connected While Working from Home

Published on : 11/1/22
  • Remote employees can still share a collective experience through food

    It’s a scene that plays out across thousands of office break rooms and employee cafeterias every day, and it’s part of the ritual of life in the workplace: The snack pangs hit around 10 a.m. — it’s still too early for lunch, but it’s been hours since breakfast, so you hit up the vending machines. You run into a colleague, and you chat for five or 10 minutes about how your morning is going, volley an idea or two about work, get your snack and go on with the rest of your morning. 

    Maybe for lunch, you go with another colleague to an on-site micro cafe and catch up on your day. Then, when the afternoon lull takes hold, you find the vending machine again and chat with other coworkers. If it’s a Friday evening, a group may get together for happy hour. 

    These are very typical interactions we’ve all had at one point or another in our working lives. Without a doubt, we form bonds with our colleagues when we break bread together or share a cup of coffee during the day. Food is a social connector unlike any other, and it enhances our relationships with others in a meaningful way. 

    When the pandemic hit and remote work became a necessity, we hit a pause in our daily routines, both at home and at work. According to the 2021 American Community Survey released this year by the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2019 and 2021, the number of people working from home tripled — from 5.7% (roughly 9 million people) to 17.9% (27.6 million people). For those now working from home, it’s become more challenging to share those moments with colleagues around the vending machine or a nearby lunch spot. Those serendipitous interactions centered around food are few and far between as the trend toward working from home or having a hybrid office schedule continues.

    But there are still ways for your people to connect with each other as before, from scheduling simultaneous food deliveries to sending care packages of snacks that everyone can partake in during a Zoom or Teams meeting. Sure, there’s a degree of separation when people are looking at each other through their computer screens, but there’s also a sense of delight when they receive a care package in the mail from their employers and they can chat about its contents with their coworkers. Maybe it’s someone’s birthday or an important milestone has been reached. Who doesn’t love a local and unique item to snack on a random afternoon? It breaks up the monotony of working remotely and makes your people feel valued and appreciated. 

    Keep up the closeness of your team even in times when you can’t be together. There’s nothing like the power of food to strengthen bonds. Add in the element of surprise that comes with receiving a package in the mail or getting food delivered, and what you have are happy employees who feel connected. And happy, connected employees are productive employees.

    InReach offers solutions on how to achieve this closeness with your people. Find out how. 
     

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