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How to small talk while working remotely (without being weird)

Reach out

Reaching out and offering your help to a new colleague, for example, is a great way to start a conversation.
It can feel weird, but in a remote setup, this is the only way these chats will happen.

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How to small talk while working remotely (without being weird)

How to small talk while working remotely (without being weird)

https://zapier.com/blog/how-to-make-small-talk-at-work-remotely/

zapier.com

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Key Ideas

The weirdness of it

Reaching out privately to a colleague can feel weird because making the active decision to initiate a conversation usually creates the expectation that you want something.
So explain why you're reaching out. Always give a reason why you want to talk to someone. Also, send one message, then wait for a response. And if someone continually doesn't respond when you reach out, take the hint.

Reach out

Reaching out and offering your help to a new colleague, for example, is a great way to start a conversation.
It can feel weird, but in a remote setup, this is the only way these chats will happen.

Respond privately

A great way to start a conversation with a teammate is to respond privately to comments made in public channels.
For example:

  • Your comment was very funny!
  • Great job on solving that tricky issue!
  • Thank you for answering my question, I appreciate your perspective.

Be vulnerable

Explain that you just want to say hello.
This is usually enough to remove the weirdness of just saying "hi," especially if you frame it using a little humor.

Don't mind the delays

Sometimes people will respond immediately. But sometimes they won't, and that's okay.
Everyone has things to do, and that means they will not be responding to every message right away.

Respect people's status

A status is a good way to let people know that you're doing focused work or that you're otherwise unable to respond.
Don't reach out to chat when someone is busy.

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Reminding People That They Owe You One

If you have to remind someone that they owe you one, chances are they don’t feel as if they do. Reminding them that they owe you a favor both makes the other person feel as if you’re trying to control them and it makes the other person feel as if you’re keeping a scorecard, and that’s fundamentally bad for relationships.

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Over-communicate
Assume that people don’t know what you’re thinking. And you’ll find the more you communicate with others, the more they will reciprocate. 

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Share Frequently and Get Feedback

Constantly send screenshots and ideas. Give your team a glimpse into your head throughout the day so they can see your creative process. 

Share your unfinished work in progress. A single reply from a teammate can steer your entire project in a better direction. Get feedback on your work early on so you can evolve sooner.

Build Trust

Build trust in your team by constantly reminding them how dependable you are. 

You can do this by being the first one to respond in threads, providing your feedback, leading initiatives, and not just delivering your work on time, but delivering it early.

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Flexibility with remote work
Flexibility with remote work

Usually, working from home is about flexibility. Every single person will have a different schedule, which will make them more productive.

Early risers and night owls
  • Early risers may work from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., take a break to get kids sorted for school, then start work again at 8:30 a.m and be finished by 2:30 p.m.
  • Some may sleep in and only start working around 10 a.m. They may stop at 3 p.m. and work again between 10 p.m and 1 a.m. when the house is quiet.

It's not always a matter of early versus late. Some people work longer hours on some days to give themselves a break on other days. It's all a matter of fitting work into your lifestyle and when you're most productive.

Batching for productivity

Batching is a common productivity strategy - group similar tasks together so your brain doesn't tire with too much context switching.

For example, to break your day into three-to four-hour work sessions with two- to three-hour breaks or naps in between. That way, you can focus on specific tasks during each session.

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The signs of burnout
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Find friends outside of work

If your only friends are your friends at work, it'll be more challenging to avoid work on evenings and weekends. If you do have coworkers as close friends, consider setting some boundaries around work talk.

Try to avoid getting drawn into office drama, as it will increase the time you spend talking and thinking about work.

Speak up

Speak up when your workload is too much. Tell your boss if you are stretched too thin or when you regularly work too many hours. Talk about what you can reasonably get done in a week.

Also, don't say yes to everything. If you have a hard time saying no, don't respond immediately. Instead say, "Let me get back to you", or, "Let me think about that."

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Self-created struggles

See life as it is, without all the ideals and fantasies you’ve been preoccupied with.

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Fearing judgment from others
We fear the judgments of others, even though their judgments about us are rarely valid or significant.

Tying your self-worth to everyone else’s opinions gives you a flawed sense of reality because people judge us based on a pool of influences in their own lives that have absolutely nothing to do with us.

Past experiences
In many ways, our past experiences have conditioned us to believe that we are less capable than we are.

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  • On another level, talking is a social behavior. Every speech does something. It reassures, acknowledges, nurtures, enjoins, rejects, dominates, encourages, or just fill an awkward silence.

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Give Feedback, Not Instruction

Keep your criticism to your observations, and the impact they have. Don't try to fix the problem, just identify it.

Offer to help fix the problem, and to support the solution that the other person comes up with. Unless you know how to do the work your coworker is doing, don't try to solve it for them—they'll ignore your feedback and you.

Give Kind Criticism, And Remember The Point Of It

The point of your criticism is to help someone improve, or to correct a problem, and your feedbacks should carry that message. If you’re doing anything but that, reevaluate whether you actually have legitimate criticism to give, or you just need to talk to someone.

Offer positive and specific suggestions to alleviate the issue at hand, or identify the problem clearly without talking about the person, just the issue.

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Because being able to focus on things, we see more meaning in them.

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Analyze Your Task List

Go through your list, review each task, and decide what you want to do with it. You have 4 options:

  • Do: complete the task now
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  • Delete: remove it from your list

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