The coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses and companies to transition to an online/remote working environment. Working from home is definitely a unique experience that has a lot of perks, however, if you’ve never been in an employment position that didn’t require you to go to an actual office space everyday, you may be struggling with the transition. The good part is we’re literally all in this together, and many of us are having a tough time staying focused and going from career brain to personal life at-home brain everyday.
Whether you have a managerial position in your company or not, everyone has a responsibility to generate a positive working environment, if not for their co-workers, for themselves more than anything.
One thing you can make sure you do everyday is engage in small talk with your co-workers like you normally would. Think water cooler conversations just over the internet. Start your day with simple discussions on the weather, your pets or kids, new hobbies you’ve taken on, etc. When we actively engage the people that are around us everyday about their personal lives, it can create an overall sense of comradery and positivity, something we all could use a lot of right now.
During a time where we’re all constantly reading, talking, and writing about the coronavirus pandemic, it can be nice to break that pattern and talk about yourself and all the small good things going in life. So while small talk may seem like nothing, during a time of isolation, it’s actually everything.
When you’re online with your co-workers and discussing matters of actual business, make sure you transition to more formal ways of speaking. You can always message or quickly call up someone casually if you have a quick question, but in meeting-type settings, obviously there’s a certain level of professionalism that’s expected from everyone.
When you’re on video conference calls or discussions with other workers, try to spice up your backdrops to be more than just a white wall. You don’t need to create an elaborate backdrop, but even sitting in front of a painting or bookshelf will indirectly show your co-workers a piece of your personal life in a professional setting.
This is significant for creating a good working-remotely company culture because, like small talk, it creates an overall sense of trust, and comradery. It’s okay to let your co-workers into your personal life every once in a while. Obviously that doesn’t mean you’re gonna start dealing out your credit score to people, but it does mean that you can start discussing things like your favorite books, paintings or artists with the people you work with.
If you pioneer that type of working environment/discussion, other workers will likely follow suit and begin to peel back some of those nervous and uncertain layers of their personality that are especially exploited for all of us during this pandemic.
You have the power to take all the steps to create a positive and motivated remote work environment, even if you aren’t the boss. So next time you log into Zoom, ask one of your co-workers about their new dog and focus on the good in life for a little while.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.