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Work friends enhance the overall happiness and productivity of employees, according to several studies. And as long as social distancing continues to affect workplaces, remote friendships are going to be critical for organizational success. 

However, it has become difficult to develop and maintain friendships while working remotely. In one 18-month study of a Fortune 500 technology firm with a largely remote workforce, researchers found that virtual teammates faced significant barriers to developing friendships.

The researchers conducted over 100 interviews with employees and used the observation research technique to understand how this problem can be overcome. 

Here are three ways they say will make it easier for you to make friends remotely:

  • Organize work sprints: Work together with a colleague or two while keeping your videos on. Study individually, schedule breaks, carry out some non-work discussions in between, observe each other’s study or work habits, and you will be able to build cadence and friendships in no time. 
  • Set up a Fika meet: A Swedish tradition that translates into “have coffee”, Fika is actually a ritual meetup between two people who are taking a break from work to socialize. You can schedule a short time to chat with a colleague or classmate about non-work topics during the week. This way you will get to know each other better and build friendships.
  • Plan shared meals: Remember breaking for meals often in the office or on your university campus? Recreate those times by scheduling video calls with your team members to share lunch together. This will help you all collaborate better even while working remotely.