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Working Remotely: 5 Tips to Build Social Capital with Your Colleague

Generating social capital has always been important for internal business collaboration, but today it's even more important for hybrid employees, remote workers, or sole proprietorships. Having the skills to do a particular job is no longer enough as hybrid offices have made many people invisible. Your ability to work with team members, make an impression, network within the industry, and remain open to new opportunities depends on the strength of your professional relationships and communication skills.

Follow these tips to make sure you’re maintaining this positive regard in every relationship you navigate, especially when you are not face-to-face with your colleague:

1. Be gracious with your time.

When you're on a team, raising your hand to support other people's projects or going beyond your role to help others makes you an invaluable and unforgettable colleague. This way, people build reputations as teammates and often become known for their internal fluidity. If your goal is to one day move to another department within your company, a proactive approach can yield impactful results. If you do something when someone needs it, you've taken the first step in building your social capital with that person. In addition, it can effectively fill skill gaps, especially when gaining experience in areas that require expertise. Negotiating a referral letter as part of the fee is strategic and acceptable. This makes it more credible, a valuable asset on your website, and more likely to be recommended in the future.

2. Communicate strategically and with intention.

The most important factor in success when working behind a screen is ensuring your communications are written in a way that calls for action. First, consider timing. Whether you're sending out pitches, checking emails, or sending project updates, it's important to think about where your colleagues are. Scheduling emails to be sent or delivered during shared working hours increases the chances of real-time response. Second, your words should connect with the reader. It starts with understanding who you are addressing. Do research to understand the experiences and perspectives of your recipients. When presenting an idea it is always beneficial to understand what has already been done and what you are looking for. When you set expectations, ensure your words are backed up by actions. Assess your skills and put them to good use. In other words, exceed expectations. Give meaning to your words.

3. Track your efforts.

As you progress in your career, keeping track of your internal and external networks becomes increasingly complex, especially if you're working remotely. It can be a little more complicated, but having a spreadsheet of network interactions and recommendations is very valuable. This doesn't just help you manage your relationships. It helps us to know the connections between people. For example, if you get a new customer through a friend's referral, it's a good idea to remember who you'll thank in the future. It also helps you monitor your engagement with people.

4. Be generous and practice gratitude.

Providing unsolicited support or reinforcing the efforts of others can go a long way. It's never too late to thank those who gave you the opportunity. Gratitude has no expiration date. Thanking someone is also an underappreciated way to reconnect. Also, if you are someone who contacts your network and asks how they are doing without asking, offers support, or is genuinely interested in what they are doing, you will find that you have sufficient social capital. An easy way to do this is to say, "Your name came to my mind today and I wanted to reach out to see how you are doing."

5. Form a colleague coaching/mentoring circle

The mentoring/coaching circle should have 2-3 members, but probably no more than 6-8. Smaller numbers can build stronger ties. Peer support and pressure/accountability are the main reasons why this cycle occurs. In this circle, share what you're working on, what you're avoiding (and possibly who), deadlines for certain things, what's going on in your home, what empowers you, and what inspires you. There is a very vulnerable, non-judgmental zone in this group of unabashed openness and compassion. Here, the Circle is careful not to create new stories about friends and colleagues. Rather, you coach them (that is, listen and ask brief questions) while rooting for them and communicating your best intentions. They want them to be great and always do their best.

Source: HBR, Medium, Basic Income Britain

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