IWill 2023-01-19 04:05 - 4 minute read

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Managing Interpersonal Relationships Working Remotely

Roopali Shrivastava, Senior Counseling Psychologist, IWill

Building strong relationships at work is vital for any team's happiness, togetherness, and productivity. Think back to a job you’ve had where that one teammate would constantly get on your nerves. Maybe they wouldn’t stop talking while you were trying to focus. Or perhaps you had to pick up their slack and take on extra work.

Whatever it was, most of us likely have a story of a colleague or manager who rubbed you the wrong way and made you dread coming in to work the next day.

Remote working can be more efficient when there are strong interpersonal relationships. It can be challenging since you are not doing physical interaction; however, it can be made possible with the proper development of interpersonal relationships.

1. Assume good intention 

It is so easy to have miscommunication, especially when working remotely. First, don’t make assumptions. Second, if you feel misunderstood or mis-interrupted, handle these conversations via phone or video versus an email communication that might miss the mark and tone you are trying to convey.

2. Timely response  

To build trust and reliability among team members and managers and eliminate guesswork and anxiety, it is vital to respond promptly to emails, phone calls, and other communication efforts. It is the professional way of working, so they only get the information they need when you respond to them—keeping mind sharing relevant updates on projects, status reports, and tasks as needed without others having to ask for the information, keeping the lines of communication open and easy for moving the work forward and creating an environment that thrives with a sense of ease, efficiency, and productivity—minimizing the spin in getting to the information or accomplishing the targets.

3. Build rapport

When you build interrelationships with colleagues in person, the same also applies when working remotely. It may definitely take longer and might not be easy for some, but it is possible to do. Consider sending a check-in email or chat at the beginning of the day as if you are working in the same space. You may want to ask how they are doing or what they did over the weekend before diving into work talk and tasks.

4. Learn communication preferences

Not everyone has some communication styles; some prefer video calls, email, phone, or quick chats/text messaging. Shake up your communications media as not all situations require only one type of communication. Your discernment, intuition, and reading of the environment/room will guide you in determining the optimum way to handle communication preferences and styles, so be mindful and pay focus attention.

5. Verbal conversation 

Don’t forget those that you can have via phone or even video calls. With so many technology options and platforms and adding different generational styles in communicating, many individuals carry an entire conversation over texting instead of doing it the old-fashioned way via a phone. This keeps the personal touch and connection alive and the lines of communication open versus cold, disconnected way using texts.

Final Thoughts

Empathy, as well as other interpersonal skills, should be considered and applied in every work environment. Be physically and emotionally present while working remotely. This can help not only on performing tasks efficiently but also establishing stronger relationships among workmates.


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