As consultants, we work in a distributed world where teams are often composed of people in different locations. Your team might be across the country or across the world. You might even work from home with no other coworkers around. Making personal connections with your fellow employees is a real challenge in this situation.
It is very important in this environment to seize every opportunity to form personal connections with others in your company. It is easy to feel isolated in a situation like this and to feel like you are not part of the “bigger picture” and to lose sight of how your contributions are important to your company.
1. Company Meetings and Social Events
Take advantage of monthly meetings and other company social events to meet and greet your fellow employees or to renew existing relationships. The connections you form during these meetings may lead to your next project.
2. Help Build Your Team
A great way to form relationships is to get involved in your local business unit. Help is always needed screening and interviewing for all positions. Many companies also have college recruitment efforts. By being part of the team that selects them, you are helping to choose your future teammates. You can also be a career counselor and, regardless of your experience level, you can help mentor new employees.
3. Join Volunteer Initiatives
Find out if your company has committees for Cultural and Philanthropic planning and see if they need help. See if your company has volunteer opportunities during the year that you can get involved in. Our local business unit has done Habitat for Humanity, Bike MS, Memorial Stair Climb, Community Food Bank, and many others. These are great opportunities to spend a day with your colleagues working for a good cause. Do you have a favorite cause that could benefit from a willing group of volunteers? Bring it up to your Philanthropy committee as these committees are always looking for good causes to support.
If you have a topic that you feel would be of interest to others in your company you have many avenues for sharing this information. Many companies do a “Lunch and learn,” or “Brown bag lunch” where you can present your information. Monthly meetings are also a great venue for shorter programs. Any topic, business-related or not, is a possibility for a presentation. Technical discussions about tools or techniques, interviewing tips and training, how to deal with a difficult customer, travel tips, or anything dealing with the everyday challenges of being an employee in a distributed environment are valid subjects. Even non-work related topics like presenting your favorite volunteer activity will be of interest to others in your company and give your coworkers some valuable insight into what makes you special. This is one of the volunteer activities that I have spoken about at many of our team meetings. For more information about FIRST Robotics visit https://www.firstinspires.org/.
If you make the effort to get connected, get involved, volunteer, share, and contribute you can make the connections necessary to not only make you feel that you are part of the “bigger picture,” but also make you understand how you are an integral and important part of the successes of your company.