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How well do you know your coworkers? If your answer is ‘not very well,’ you’re not alone. In this new remote world, it’s not as easy as it once was to connect employees.

Coworkers used to meet 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, teammates often passed each other’s desks or caught up in the kitchen. 

Now, we work alongside whoever we live with, and our days at the home office end when we log off and close our laptops. As a result, there aren’t as many opportunities to connect with coworkers throughout our workdays.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. There are many ways companies can foster connections between employees. Here are five ways that you can connect employees with similar interests in a remote environment.

Create interest groups

It’s important for your team to connect and discover what interests they have in common. For example, it could be that a few people all have dogs or love to travel internationally.

The best way to support your team in connecting is to create interest groups, similar to how you might have clubs in-person. Here’s a few examples of popular groups:

  • Pet Parents: have employees share pictures of their cats, dogs, or other furry friends
  • Chefs: employees can share their favorite recipes
  • Jokesters: everyone loves a lighthearted meme or funny dad joke
  • Diversity and inclusion group: help empower different communities at work
  • Wellness Warriors: for conversations about health, wellness, workouts, and more
  • Book Club: teammates can share book recommendations and read the same book

These groups are a great starting point for connecting employees with similar interests. To easily create virtual interest groups, try using tools like Intros. You can create an interest-focused Slack channel and create a custom Intros template so each member can share their insights about the topic by answering a set of questions. You can even use those groups to plan virtual events or create official clubs.

Host virtual events to connect coworkers

Hosting virtual events and classes that appeal to a wide range of interests is a great way to connect coworkers.

You can organize events like workout classes, 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 typical work.

Organize virtual club meetups

Now that you’ve created interest groups, you can organize virtual clubs! Employees can meet briefly to connect about a specific topic and have fun. We recommend meeting once a month, or every 2-3 weeks depending on the club. Here are some great ideas for clubs at work: 

  • Book clubs: meet up to pick a new book and discuss your learnings from last month’s book
  • Cooking clubs: choose one member to teach everyone their favorite dish
  • Game clubs: pick a virtual game to play together, such as a Jackbox game
  • Movie clubs: everyone can watch a movie at the same time, and share their thoughts in the chat box
  • Running clubs: accountability buddies are the best! Meet up to share any running tips and how much you ran that week

The best thing you can do is listen to your employees by allowing them to provide input on their interests and help create your virtual groups.

Partner with 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 groups that are organizing virtual events. 

You can partner with groups for certain specialties such as sales or marketing organizations, groups for women, charity organizations, 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 interest groups, 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!

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