What Effect Does Remote Working Have on Co-Worker Relationships?
17 Apr 2023

By Talya da Silva, Production Director, Bateleur Brand Planning

The way we work has a significant impact on how we interact with our colleagues. In recent years, remote work has become increasingly popular, with more and more companies adopting a hybrid or fully remote work philosophy. Despite remote work’s negative reputation, a recent survey conducted by Bateleur Vantage Point found that remote workers report feeling challenged, responsible, and focused on enhancing their professional skills.

However, one of the criticisms of remote work is the difficulty in collaborating and communicating with colleagues. Without traditional water cooler conversations, it can be challenging to have spontaneous and informal conversations. To explore this issue, Bateleur Brand Planning conducted a survey comparing the satisfaction levels of co-worker relationships between those who work from home and those who work in the office.

The survey results revealed that remote workers reported higher satisfaction with their co-worker relationships than those who work in the office. This finding is not surprising, as external factors like commuting can negatively influence mood and communication. Remote workers have the autonomy to set up their home office to their liking, which can positively affect their frame of mind and interactions with colleagues.

The Bateleur Brand Planning team, working remotely since 2012, shared their thoughts on why remote workers report higher satisfaction levels in their colleague relationships. They cited the availability of various communication platforms, allowing easy and immediate communication and assistance. Real-time instant messaging also enables remote workers to share jokes and build relationships organically. However, the team also acknowledged that communication breakdowns could occur more easily when working remotely, requiring remote workers to put in extra effort to avoid misunderstandings.

Having good relationships with colleagues positively affects employee morale, increasing engagement, teamwork, collaboration, internal cohesion, and productivity levels. As more companies adopt remote work or hybrid work models, it is essential to prioritise effective communication and collaboration to maintain positive co-worker relationships.