Remote and hybrid work environments have benefited people in tremendous ways. From money saved to having more time back in the day—people are loving the option to work from home. However, an increase in remote work has had its downsides too. Time spent outside the office has caused professionals to become more isolated from each other—and collaboration—while equally as critical as it once was for success, has been less authentic and harder to foster.
While the option for remote work isn’t becoming any less desired—people are missing that human connection and drive they once had within the walls of an office. If you are feeling disconnected from your co-workers, and are lacking a sense of community, your social capital may have taken a hit. While your company should be putting in the conscious effort to create a collaborative hybrid environment, here are five ways you can work on improving your social capital at work:
Since we’ve adapted to remote office environments where human connection is harder to come by, consider starting your days with the intent of increasing your social capital at work. The intent alone won’t help you build relationships, but it will put you in the right mindset when it comes to having more meaningful and educational conversations in the workplace.
Find a mentor or become one
Even if your organization doesn’t have a formal mentorship program in place, you can still build these types of relationships on your own. Mentors can support you, motivate you, and cheer you on. They can also introduce you to new people who can help you make the right connections for your career goals. On the contrary, being a mentor can be a rewarding and motivating experience as well. If you feel you’d enjoy fostering connection by giving guidance, rather than receiving it, consider becoming a mentor yourself. There are lots of shared learning and career advancement opportunities that can come from professional relationships such as these—you never know what you may learn along the way.
If you don’t already have a person in mind to mentor or be mentored by, ask your supervisor or team members if they can introduce you to someone. Beyond your workplace, you could also reach out to your network on LinkedIn.
Read Also: 4 Reasons Why You Need A Professional Mentor
Touch base with your colleagues
You may not need to chat with all your colleagues daily, but it’s important to check in with them from time to time. This will not only help you get to know them better, but it can help break down siloes that may otherwise be occurring and affecting efficiencies.
Besides making casual conversation, consider discussing what you’re working on and what problems you’re trying to solve. These frequent interactions can help you with collaboration, motivation, and ultimately with building human connection in the workplace.
Join extra curriculars
If your company offers them and you have the time, consider joining committees for employees that involve culture, diversity, events, or community service. Joining extra curriculars such as these will not only increase your opportunities for building social capital at work, but they can be rewarding ways to break up your day-to-day responsibilities.
Talk to your manager
If you’re actively working on building relationships at work and are still finding it challenging to connect with your colleagues, there may be a larger problem in place. Ultimately, company leaders should be identifying ways to build social capital at work, especially in hybrid environments. Consider having an open conversation with your manager about what’s going on—your feedback could be well-received, and chances are, you’re not the only one feeling this way. If after the conversation you still feel your needs are not being met, it could be time to find a better fit in an employer.