Extend your professional connections with these remote networking tips for the holidays.

12 Remote Networking Tips for the Holidays

Do you dread professional networking but wish your list of contacts was longer? You’re not alone. This year, stuff your virtual address book with these useful remote networking tips for the holidays. Not only will this allow you to make connections, but networking will also ensure the professional side of your holiday is fun and productive.

The holidays provide the perfect opportunity to mingle with colleagues and meet new people. But what do you do if you’re working from home? And with the COVID pandemic all but eliminating the usual hustle and bustle of holiday parties, lunches, and get-togethers, how do you maintain and build work relationships? Keep your stocking cap on. Virtual workers have numerous ways they can bond with colleagues and meet new professional contacts, even during a pandemic. Here’s what you need to know.

The Basics of Networking for Remote Workers

First, there are two types of networking—internal and external. Internal networking involves bonding with colleagues within your organization or work environment, and external networking means meeting new people outside of that environment. But both are important for forming connections and nurturing meaningful business relationships.

Now, before your eyes start rolling out snickerdoodles and your stomach sinks like a lump of coal, Harvard Business Review offers a game-changing approach to networking that just might jingle your bells:

  • Move away from a self-promotion mindset and engage in conversations with the intention of learning.
  • Spend more time talking with individuals whose personal and professional interests align with your own.
  • Focus on what you can contribute rather than what you can receive from others.
  • Consider the common good and express ideas that create win-win scenarios for everyone involved.

In other words, don’t view networking as a phony way to make fake friends or brown-nose your way to the top. Instead, see it as a sleigh that can connect you with like-minded individuals. Also, since it’s the season of giving, approach networking as a way to share your knowledge and skills while making meaningful connections.

So without further ado, here are our top 12 remote networking tips for the holidays so you can apply this approach and expand your professional network by New Year’s Day!

1. Send Seasonal Messages

Virtual teams love using messaging apps like Slack, Google Chat, and Microsoft Teams to collaborate on projects and chit-chat with colleagues. So, whatever communication channel you use, one of our first remote networking tips for the holidays is simply to send out a few seasonal messages. In these messages, do some well-wishing and remind everyone that they’re part of the team. Since visibility can be a challenge for virtual workers, posting friendly messages keeps you on the radar among colleagues.

Fun Remote Work Fact: Frequent communication is a fundamental part of moving up the ladder. By showing availability, messaging activity, and responding to threads promptly, you improve your position. So arm yourself with a history of visible participation to make asking for a promotion easier later on.

2. Show Your Appreciation

If you want to solidify a connection with just one or two people on your remote team, prioritize your boss or direct manager. After all, they are the ones who evaluate you and help you achieve your career goals. As a token of your appreciation, give them a small, thoughtful gift like coffee, wine, or an assorted gift basket. Keep it tasteful and simple, as it’s more of a gesture to acknowledge their leadership and role. If they don’t have a business address and you don’t know their home addresses, send them a gift card via email, or use an app like SwiftGift. You might also consider purchasing a group gift with other employees so that everyone can pitch in.

3. Attend the Virtual Holiday Party

Holiday parties are fantastic icebreakers, especially for anyone new to remote work. Companies that operate a 100% remote work environment frequently host virtual holiday parties to maintain a sense of unity among dispersion. These parties are usually held through a video conference app like Skype, GoToMeeting, or Zoom. Each worker gets to show face, introduce themselves, and say a few words. If your company holds an annual virtual holiday party, put it on the calendar and attend. In addition, it’s a great reminder that you are part of a real-life team and can help you form long-term professional connections.

4. Attend the Actual Holiday Party

While the pandemic may have put a damper on holiday plans this year, when in-person parties are possible again, consider traveling to headquarters if they host an annual party. An occasional visit to HQ can make a dramatic difference in your relationships with your peers. Plus, you may be able to expense the trip or deduct travel and lodging on your federal tax returns, depending on your employment status.

Fun Remote Work Fact: In previous years, InVision—a 100% remote company—organized two regional holiday parties: one in New York City and one in San Francisco. This illustrated the company’s commitment to creating an exceptional remote work environment that facilitates collaboration and comradery among employees. While the festivities may be virtual this year, hopefully, it will be able to pick up where it left off in 2021. Check out all virtual jobs at InVision in the Virtual Vocations database.

5. Participate in Holiday Giving

‘Tis the season to give back whether we are social distancing or not. So, whether your team decides to adopt a family, make a group donation, or volunteer to deliver meals, the most important of all remote networking tips for the holidays is to do what you can. Try participating remotely by sending money, gifts, or volunteering at a similar function locally. And, if your company doesn’t organize such events or activities, pitch one to your manager. In addition, you can offer to coordinate the effort. Not only will you give back to the community and help create a sense of unity among the team, but you will also demonstrate initiative and leadership skills.

6. Fire Up the Festivities

Another networking tip for remote workers is to have a bit of fun with your colleagues. If your organization does absolutely nothing festive during the holiday season, spark some holiday cheer by creating an easy, fun, virtual activity for all to enjoy. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate scheme. Just put together something light and non-work-related to get everyone in a joyful mood. Here is a list of some ideas:

  • Daily trivia game
  • Ugly sweater contest
  • Recipe swap
  • Secret Santa gift exchange
  • Best and worst holiday stories
  • Fantasy sport leagues
  • New Year’s resolutions lists

These activities raise your team’s spirits and demonstrate your community-building skills, enthusiasm, and commitment. You’ll also learn more about your colleagues and bond over common interests.

7. Avoid Business Talk

The holidays are for kicking back after a long year of hard work, so don’t spoil it by constantly talking about the next project or client. Instead, use another of our top remote networking tips for the holidays and get to know your colleagues: ask about their interests and vacation plans. Though work may naturally come up in conversation, don’t give it the limelight. Let business take the backseat so you can enjoy learning and laughing about other facets of life.

8. Bond Over the Remote Work (and COVID) Blues

We may love it, but working from home comes with nuisances that office-based employees just don’t understand. For example, while office workers bark about traffic, limited parking spots, and icy staircases, you and your fellow virtual workers snicker about the neighbor’s obsessive landscaping and how the cat constantly crawls across your keyboard during team meetings. As you expand your professional network, you might make instant connections with others who work remotely by laughing about common blunders and challenges. You may also learn a few tips to improve your workflows or deduct expenses from your taxes.

9. Join a Professional Meetup

Attending meetup events is another pro networking tip for virtual workers and they don’t necessarily have to be holiday-related. Consider going to a (small, socially distanced) event or attend online meetups with local professionals to meet new people. Most likely, you’ll meet a combination of remote workers, self-employed individuals, entrepreneurs, and business leaders who want to connect with people like you. Meetups are also great places to practice talking about your career goals and collecting industry tips from experienced professionals. To start, you may want to try Meetup.com, which is the largest online meetup platform in the world. Search by geographic location, interest, or job type to find the ideal group to meet up with.

10. Meet and Greet Your Neighbors

Right now, we’re all feeling nostalgic about the cheesy and overcrowded Santa-themed neighborhood parties and lighting festivals at the park. However, once things return to a semblance of normality, another of our favorite remote networking tips for the holiday season is to venture out and explore one or two of these local events. They can be excellent (and free) places for networking with influential people. As the holiday season is a time for giving, you never know who may be generous enough to offer you a job, promotion, or introduce you to someone who can. So, tinsel up and schmooze with the neighbors before they go back into hibernation.

11. RSVP Yes

Do you usually dread the influx of obligatory invitations that appear around the holidays? Well, you may be in luck this year as we grapple with the pandemic. However, make sure to say yes to the ones that you can this year. There are sure to be a few virtual holiday happy hours and parties of both the social and professional variety as we try to find safe ways to celebrate. Unless you fear for your safety, consider attending at least one invitation you’d otherwise reject. And next year, remember that these events are an excellent opportunity to diversify your contacts and learn something new. Just like any event, you never know who you’ll meet. So, go strut your remote working stuff and let the holiday networking begin!

12. Send Thank You Notes

Whether you’re a freelancer who landed a new contract or a remote employee that’s been given extra pay or responsibility, the holiday season is the time to thank people for their belief in you. In a virtual world, thank you notes are easier to send than ever before thanks to dozens of free and paid platforms. Some of the top options include:

Or if you’re feeling old-school, snail mail is still a fun, personalized way to send your holiday thank you notes. Who doesn’t like getting something in the mail every now and again? Plus, the effort you put out could lead to more work in the future through word-of-mouth advertising. That’s an added bonus that’s well worth the trouble.

‘Tis the Season to Work Remotely!

All remote workers know the value of work from home jobs during the busy holiday season. By applying a few of our remote networking tips for the holidays, hopefully you will also make a few new contacts! However, regardless of how you choose to network and close out the work year, be sure to set aside quality time for family and friends. After all, the point of working remotely is to find more opportunities to live a full and happy life.

On behalf of the entire Virtual Vocations team, we wish you a very Happy Holiday Season!

Do you have any remote networking tips for the holidays? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your comments. We’d love to hear from you!



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