During the pandemic, employees’ worlds shrank as a result of remote working. Some coworkers now feel as if they don’t exist in their coworkers’ everyday life, and this is having an impact.

Coworker communication used to be required as part of the office routine. Outside of the office, conversations in the coffee shop, shared birthday cakes, and a shared walk to the car park at the end of the day provided brief opportunities to connect. As a result of the transition to remote work, this has changed. Employees increasingly use virtual channels to communicate with those with whom they share duties in a much more separated manner. Because there is no work-related reason to seek out colleagues who aren’t connected to their roles and workloads, many people’s work worlds have shrunk – no more “just because” chats with the woman in IT or the guy in accounting.

Employees are affected; research shows that many remote workers feel detached from their teams and businesses. Slacking or Zooming a coworker you don’t know well for no other reason than work is a difficult problem to address – after all, it could seem weird. On the other hand, finding ways to restore these post-pandemic work networks could be crucial to long-term professional pleasure.