5 Ways to Stay Social When You’re a Remote Worker
Remote work has become a common option, whether as a full-time job, or a part-time gig. However, many remote workers face the prospect of isolation. According to the State of Remote Work 2018 report on Buffer, the top two struggles remote workers are facing are that of loneliness and the lack of communication. Due to the nature of their work, they have fewer opportunities to develop connections with their colleagues compared to traditional office workers.
The good news is that companies are adapting to the changing workforce. A Maryville University analysis on modern work practices shows that there is an increasing demand for managers that specialize in organizing remote workers. This includes using emerging technology, such as social media and e-learning to support remote staff. However there also needs to be action on the employee’s side in order to make sure remote working doesn’t take over their social life.
So get your social strength back in order with these five easy tips.
Get Out of the House
Just because you can work at home, doesn’t mean you have to. Allocating at least one day of your week to work in a nearby coffee shop or even a coworking space can do you a lot of good. If you become a regular at a coffee shop you may even strike up friendships with fellow remote workers or build a network at your local coworking space.
If you opt for a coffee shop, be sure to be a good laptop sitter. LifeHacker states that the general rule of thumb is to order something every two to three hours so the establishment profits from your long stays there. Otherwise you could find yourself unwelcome.
Use Communication Apps
Just because you don't see your coworkers, that doesn't mean you can't talk to them. One of the challenges of working remotely is being able to collaborate, and that requires the use of collaboration apps like Slack, Twist, and Hive. These same apps can be used for idle chat as well as working on projects. Initiate casual conversations as you would in a traditional workspace through private channels or just asking someone how their day or weekend’s been. If you prefer face-to-face interactions, you can use Skype or Google hangouts. The important point is to make sure that you don’t let remote working become a reason for not getting to know your coworkers.
Make Time for Life Outside Work
One of the biggest advantages of remote working is that you are in control of your time. However, that can easily become one of its most stressful factors if you don’t manage your time properly. It’s easy to find yourself working beyond the required hours, especially as there is no official clocking out time. In order to avoid burnout set strict working hours or a schedule that won’t seep into your social life.
Remote workers usually have more flexible hours, so why not volunteer for some projects during your free time? Volunteering is a fantastic way to get yourself out there and connecting with those outside your bubble (and out of your house). Not only will you be able to give back, but you’ll also meet friends and develop experience in the process. It’s a win-win situation!
Enroll in a Fitness Class
Due to the flexible nature that remote working provides, it's easy to make time for physical fitness two to three times a week. It's highly recommended that you join a class like yoga or martial arts. As a remote worker you spend many days by yourself, so it is good to seek out activities where you will interact with other people.
BONUS: Start a local group
Start a meetup, create a local sports team, or even see if you can host a recurring event at a local hangout nearby. There’s always someone to meet with similar interests or who might be looking to connect. Check out Meetup, Facebook groups and events, or even Eventbrite for some ideas. From happy hours, learning sessions, or even just general explore clubs, there’s bound to be something to get you out there and engaging with others.
Guest writer Sofia Molly is an extremely social person who's always looking to create new opportunities and connections through writing. She's a firm believer that all chances should be grabbed when it comes, and that the future belongs to those who take risks.