How to build community at work (and why it matters)
Building community at work isn't always easy, especially now that so many people are regularly working from home. MeaningSphere's Roz Duffy shares some ideas for creating connection at work – and why it's so important.
Since the arrival of the pandemic, workplaces around the world have changed. These days it’s much more common to hop on a zoom with a coworker than it is to go grab a coffee.
While we may have grown accustomed to the grid of faces staring back at us on our screens, remote work challenges us to get more creative in how we build connection at work. According to Buffer's 2022 State of Remote Work report, 52% of respondents who began working remotely at the start of the pandemic felt less connected to their coworkers.
You might be wondering why building a strong sense of community at work matters. For starters, it just makes work better. When you like, value, and respect your coworkers, it’s much easier to get your work done and feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.
Have you ever felt the Sunday Scaries – that feeling of anxiety that creeps in on Sundays before your work week is about to begin? Having colleagues whom you trust and feel supported by might help you start to let go of some of that anxiety and *gasp* even look forward to Mondays.
Are you looking to grow professionally by increasing your skills or taking on bigger, gnarlier projects? Knowing that you’ve got people to run ideas by and safely say things like “I have no idea what I’m doing!” will help you get past any feelings of imposter syndrome and stretch to your creative edges.
But how, exactly, can we build these stronger relationships at work, and feel that sense of belonging and community? Have no fear, we’ve got some ideas:
1. Ask more questions
Here at MeaningSphere, we start our meetings with a check-in question. It could be anything from “What’s your favorite breakfast food?” to “Would you travel forward in time or back?" It’s a really powerful way to learn more about your coworkers and what makes them who they are.
2. Grab a virtual coffee
If you can go get the real stuff in person, do it! But if not, there’s no reason you can’t book 1:1 time with a coworker without an agenda, just to get to know each other a little better. If your team uses Slack, Donut is a great way to get matched with folks across your organization.
3. Organize a social event
Did you know that you can travel anywhere in the world with your team from the comfort of your computer? Airbnb offers online experiences that can transport you and your team to another culture in minutes. Do you like trivia? There are a growing number of online trivia games that you and your team can play together. Team building is no trivial pursuit! (Yes, we went there.) Of course, if you have the ability to get together in person, make it happen.
4. Volunteer on a project together
Giving back to the wider community through volunteering can be a fun and meaningful way to bond with your coworkers. There’s plenty of research out there that states that helping others is a great way to increase our feelings of wellbeing and strengthen our social connections. Here are some great ideas to get started.
Each month, MeaningSphere deep dives into a key aspect of meaningful work — in February we're looking at belonging at work. Check out and download our free calendar for daily activities to help you explore belonging in your work.
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