5 ways to connect employees with similar interests in a remote environment
Feb 14, 2022 · 5 MIN READ
How well do you know your coworkers? You’re not alone if you feel like you don’t know your coworkers very well. Honestly, in our new remote world, it’s not as easy as it once was to build connections with our coworkers.
We used to meet coworkers for coffee, have lunch together, or grab drinks after a long day at the office, which opened up many opportunities to build friendships. In addition to those interactions, we were often passing each other’s desks or catching up in the kitchen.
Now, we work alongside whoever we live with, and our days at the home office end when we simply log off and close our laptops. As a result, there aren’t as many opportunities to connect with coworkers throughout our workdays, but there are many ways companies can foster connections between employees throughout our remote workdays.
In this article, we’ll dive into five ways that you can connect employees with similar interests in a remote environment. Let’s go!
Create Slack channels
Slack is the glue that holds virtual teams together. Slack is useful for team communications, virtual brainstorms, quick messages, calls throughout the workday, and even non-work-related discussions with coworkers.
You likely have channels for each of your teams or projects that you’re working on, but it’s always fun to create non-work-related channels. Some examples of fun Slack channels are:
- Pet channels: have employees share pictures of their cats, dogs, or other furry friends!
- Cooking channels: employees can share their favorite recipes.
- Meme channels: everyone loves a lighthearted meme!
- Diversity and inclusion channels: these are channels that help empower different communities at work.
- Wellness channels: for conversations about health, wellness, workouts, and more.
- Book channels: what are your employees reading? They can share their latest reads!
While this is not an exhaustive list, it’s a great starting point for connecting employees with similar interests. Plus, depending on the level of activity within the channels, you can use those to plan virtual events or launch official clubs. More on that later!
Add Donut to your Slack
In addition to creating Slack channels to connect employees with similar interests, you can add a fun app like Donut to your Slack. Donut allows employees to opt-in to essentially a blind coffee date with a coworker. Employees are chosen at random to set up a 30-minute meeting to disconnect from the workday and get to know one another. You can seed the conversations with topics from the Donut library, you can create your own, or just let your employees decide what they’d like to chat about.
Donut conversations allow coworkers who don’t usually interact to get to know one another and allow friends to catch up with one another throughout the virtual workday.
Host virtual events and classes
Hosting virtual events and classes that appeal to a wide range of interests is a great way to connect coworkers who have similar interests. No, we don’t mean classes you have to study for, but classes for fun!
You can organize anything like workout classes, races, game nights, cooking classes, and more. Offering non-work activities that appeal to different people is a fun and unique way to connect coworkers that might not usually interact with one another. These different activities allow new coworkers to meet and build friendships with one another based on a shared interest discovered outside of their 9-5.
Organize virtual clubs
Now that you’ve created Slack channels, implemented Donut, and offered virtual events to your employees, you can organize virtual clubs! If enough employees show interest in certain activities or topics, you can organize virtual clubs for employees to meet regularly and discuss their interests. Here are some fun ideas for clubs at work:
- Book clubs
- Cooking clubs
- Game clubs
- Movie clubs
- Running clubs
Really, anything that your employees are showing interest in could deserve its own club. Listen to your employees by allowing them to provide input and help create your virtual groups.
Partner with associations and organizations
If you’re looking for more ways to connect employees with one another and get involved with the community, you can partner with local organizations. For some, you may have to be members of that organization or association, but that’s also a good way to get employees to connect. There are many local (and non-local, if you want to branch out) groups that are organizing virtual events.
You can partner with groups for certain specialties such as sales or marketing organizations, groups for women, or industry organizations. That way, you’re providing your employees with an opportunity to foster an interest, connect with one another, and connect with other professionals who share their interests. Adding in an extra layer of social interaction is extremely beneficial in our virtual world.
The key to fostering employee relationships is offering opportunities for them to connect with one another, such as Slack channels, Donut conversations, virtual clubs, and virtual events. Connecting employees with similar interests in a remote environment is easier than you might think—you just need to know where to start!