Rethink remote working: Why you should ask your boss out for a virtual coffee today

Telecommuting certainly has its professional drawbacks. A virtual coffee with the boss could be a great way to show initiative, gain a mentor and even negotiate a raise.

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Image: GettyImages/chee gin tan

It goes without saying, remote work certainly has its benefits. (So long, public transit commute! Sayonara, office thermostat battles!) While the "working in what I slept in" lifestyle comes with no shortage of perks, the work model has its fair share of drawbacks. Telecommuting can make it difficult to build relationships with coworkers and gain invaluable facetime with superiors. In fact, many professionals believe that WFH has reduced internal and external networking opportunities and harmed their career progress, according to a 2020 Blind survey.

Without the happenstance watercooler talk and general schmoozing afforded by the traditional office environment, remote workers may need to take initiative to make these same interactions happen virtually. That said, here are 5 reasons why you should ask your boss out for a virtual coffee today.

Rethink remote working: Coffee and facetime

Showing initiative

In many ways, remote work allows people to more readily coast through their workday and focus solely on their list of tasks without the distractions of the office environment. Rather than simply showing up for the standard weekly or daily meetings with your boss and coworkers, setting up a virtual coffee shows initiative and drive so often referenced in review cycles and hiring interviews. You didn't have to ask the boss out for a coffee, but you chose to do so. Going out of your way to put this meeting on the books could help you stand out in a crowded Zoom room.

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Building relationships

The lack of facetime is one of the biggest drawbacks of remote work and this can make it difficult to forge meaningful relationships and really get to know other members of the team. While Zoom meetings usually come with set agendas and a more or less standardized structure, a virtual coffee can be framed as a much more casual environment. This allows you to simply set aside time to get to know your boss and let them in on who you are outside of your day-to-day tasks. What are your hobbies? What makes you tick? Where are your favorite vacation spots? Adding a layer of personality to a talking head on a video call is a great way to meet and understand other members of your team; especially your boss.

Getting what you want

One of the best parts of asking the boss out for a coffee on Zoom is that you have the ability to set the agenda. Unlike the weekly stand-up, you have the ability to call the shots and control the narrative from the start. This means you could use this opportunity to discuss those ideas you've been stewing on, workflow tweaks or maybe even go all-in on that raise and promotion.

By taking the initiative and setting up the meeting you are placing yourself in more of a position of power and this could bode well for negotiations, but remember to be calculated in your delivery. A slow and steady methodical approach could literally pay dividends.

Mentoring opportunities

Remote positions can also make it difficult to receive hands-on training and meet potential mentors. Those so-inclined can use these virtual coffee chats as an opportunity to ask their boss about their career paths and learn from these experiences. It's also possible to open up the table for honest conversations and ask for feedback about your approach and workflow. Mentors and influential leaders could be invaluable resources in the long run and building a strong rapport with your boss could be a smart career move.

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Forging lifelong references

Most people will work in several different positions at several different companies over the course of their careers. Asking your boss out for a coffee could be a great way to simply get to know them on a personal level and form a lasting bond (and professional reference). Needless to say, a glowing recommendation from a former boss is an invaluable asset. During the interview process, a stellar referral could push your resume to the top of the stack, but remember, your boss is probably much more likely to recall a former colleague they felt a personal connection with compared to a muted head on a video call.

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