Working From Home: What About Coworker Connections?

Employees are missing social connections with coworkers, but there are activities that can be done virtually to help preserve team culture.

Employees are saying COVID-19 has damaged their corporate culture. Sixty-three percent of employees say they have spent less time socializing with their colleagues—both in-person and virtually—since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, according to data from Clutch, a business to business ratings and reviews firm.

Past studies have revealed that employees say social, non-work-related activities with coworkers boost morale and create camaraderie among team members. Clutch’s survey of 301 employees found one-third of employees (35%) report that their company has not hosted a virtual social event since remote work as a result of the pandemic began. Only 13% report that their office is holding happy hours, while 9% say their office is hosting activities and games. Just 5% report virtual meals being held.

Some companies are working to give people new opportunities to socialize during the workday. For example, Shivbhadrasinh Gohil, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Meetanshi, a Magento development company, says his team conducts an activity called “Photos at 4” every workday to keep connected while working remotely. To participate in “Photos at 4,” employees respond to a prompt by sharing a photograph. Examples of prompts include favorite quarantine snack, unique household item or dream vacation.

Another key to preserving team culture is having the boss available. According to the survey, more than half of workers (52%) say their direct boss or manager’s availability has not changed since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Only 19% of employees say their boss is less available than before the COVID-19 outbreak.