4 Powerful Strategies to Build Strong Work Relationships While Remote

Building positive relationships at work results in better collaboration. It leads to better problem-solving and solutions to workplace dilemmas. Positive work relationships improve trust, which is the foundation of healthy relationships. When employees have strong relationships in the workplace, they feel a stronger sense of loyalty to the organization and each other. There is also a higher sense of personal value in their daily work. With the benefits clear, how do you build positive relationships when you’re a remote employee?

Forming positive relationships with your colleagues is critical for your career and not just with senior staff. Peers and junior colleagues are equally helpful and provide just as much value, so don’t leave them out of your plan. These techniques help you build positive relationships at work while working remotely and will strengthen your professional network.

1) Show up to meetings prepared.

Meetings offer a vast opportunity to build positive relationships at work, especially while working remotely. Most meeting organizers don’t do a good job running meetings. The global pandemic has negatively increased the number of meetings we are attending. Because meeting organizers are doing a terrible job and most of us multi-task during the meetings, there is an opportunity to differentiate yourself in them. As a result, they are an opportunity to build positive relationships at work.

  • Clarify your purpose in the meeting so you know how to contribute.
  • Understand the key decisions or actions that need to occur.
  • Review the agenda and research the topics or data points beforehand. Doing so helps you ask informed questions and provide meaningful input.
  • Ask open and closed-ended questions because it shows you are engaged.
  • Come to the meeting with ideas to address the challenges being discussed.
  • When adding to or disputing something a peer brings up, thank or praise them for what they said before adding your thoughts.
  • Take hand-written notes because it will help you stay focused during the meeting.
  • Clarify action items including who owns what and when they are due along with next steps.

Meetings are a great way to define your brand, and they offer exceptional networking opportunities. Show up to meetings prepared. Ask relevant and timely questions. Most importantly, thank or praise people for their contributions before adding your thoughts. As a result, you will build and strengthen positive relationships at work while working remotely.

2) Leverage hidden connections to build positive relationships at work.

You attend a lot of meetings throughout the week. Chances are, people you don’t interact with otherwise are attending some of those meetings. Make time to connect with those colleagues. There is so much technology at your fingertips to help you build relationships at work. Here are some tips for connecting with colleagues outside of the meeting.

  • Send an email after the meeting thanking or praising them for their contribution but be specific.
  • Schedule a one-to-one with them to dive deeper into a problem or solution they offered or just to get to know them better.
  • Send a Slack, Teams, Google Chat, or whatever your organization uses during or after the meeting to offer help or support with their action items.

Creating relationships with meeting attendees you don’t normally interact with is a powerful tool for building positive relationships at work. It is another way to differentiate yourself.


3) Schedule a one-to-one with peers in other departments.

Another often overlooked method to building positive relationships at work while working remotely is to schedule a one-to-one. You should have frequent meetings with your boss. However, you can also schedule one-to-ones with leaders you admire, with peers on your level in different departments, or skip-level meetings up or down the org chart. These techniques help you conduct a productive one-to-one meeting while also valuing their time.

  • Review their professional history on LinkedIn or the company intranet.
  • Come prepared with a response to tell them the story of you.
  • Come prepared with meaningful questions that help you understand them as a person:
    • Questions about their family
    • Their hobbies and outside interests.
    • Ask about items you see in their background.
    • How they are doing, especially if they appear stressed or bothered.
  • Ask questions related to them professionally:
    • The goals they are working on.
    • What problems they are facing.
    • How someone in your role can help or hurt their areas of responsibility.
  • How you can help with a project they are working on.
  • Ask for their opinion on ideas you have or problems you are trying to solve.
  • To leave a lasting impression, explain how you will follow up on advice they give.

To build positive relationships at work, schedule one-to-one meetings with people you don’t interact with normally. Getting to know people around the organization provides a tremendous benefit. It helps you build positive relationships and can improve your quality of work. Don’t neglect peers on your level in different departments.

4) Become a better meeting organizer to build positive relationships at work.

There is so much disdain for meetings. Organizations tend to cycle between too many meetings and too few. However, they never address the root cause of why meetings are so terrible. To build positive relationships at work, become a better meeting organizer. It is even more valuable to establish yourself as a better meeting organizer when in a remote environment. These tips will help you improve meetings when you are the meeting organizer.

  • Know who the attendees are by reviewing them on LinkedIn or the company intranet.
  • Build an agenda and include it in the invite so everyone is clear on the objectives.
  • Send invites in advance because very few meetings should be last minute.
  • Use the scheduling assistant to make sure the attendees are free – before you send the invite!
  • Send along documents for prereading or requests so the attendees can prepare in advance.
  • Verify the attendees have accepted the invite and follow-up when they haven’t.
  • Prepare your presentation or materials well in advance and rehearse.
  • Start on time and keep the meeting on track and on topic to finish on time.
  • Clarify and recap action items, owners, and due dates.
  • Take notes or establish a note taker and then send out a recap.
  • Randomly call on people to solicit their ideas or feedback, especially if they haven’t contributed.
  • If another meeting is needed, review calendars before ending the meeting.
  • Schedule the meeting 15 minutes after the start of the hour or set the end time for 15 minutes before the end of the hour to give people a break between meetings.

Everyone hates meetings, especially disorganized ones. People are busy, and meetings prevent them from doing their regular work. Build positive relationships in a remote work environment by becoming a better meeting organizer. Plan the details of your meeting like you are a director in a play. Soon after the meeting ends, send a recap that clearly outlines action items, owners, and due dates. If another meeting is needed, schedule a follow-up directly after you send the summary. These tips will make people want to attend your meeting.

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Jason Cortel is currently the Director of Global Workforce Management for a leading technology company. He has been in customer service, marketing, and sales services for over 20 years. In addition, he has extensive experience in offshore and nearshore outsourcing. Jason is an avid Star Trek fan and is on a mission to change the universe by helping people develop professionally. He is driven to help managers and leaders lead their teams better. Jason is also a veteran in creating talent and office cultures.

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