Remote work is on the rise. As of 2016, 43 percent of Americans reported that they worked from home at least some of the time, according to a Gallup survey. The uptick in remote work makes total sense: Working on your own terms means you’ll enjoy more independence and freedom, fewer distractions, and potentially even more productivity. Sounds good, right? So what’s the catch? For introverted personalities who thrive on time to themselves, the work-from-home life might feel like a dream come true — but for extroverts, the lack of social interaction may feel taxing. Whether you’re a freelance creative or you telecommute to your tech gig on the opposite coast, part of working from home (or a campsite, for that matter!) is less face-to-face engagement with co-workers. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your social life or mental health to enjoy the many benefits of remote work. If you’re an at-home extrovert, here are a few ways to maximize your success at work without compromising your well-being.
1. Consider a co-working space. Let’s face it: One of the biggest perks of working from home is the freedom to stay in your pajamas until 11am (or 3pm, depending on the day). But what good is that freedom if you’re not taking care of yourself in other, more important ways? To make sure you’re getting the social stimulation that lights you up, think about renting a desk at a co-working space once or twice a week. Not only will you get to enjoy the amenities (WiFi, coffee, and printers, oh my!), but you’ll get to meet new people. The best of both worlds, right?
2. Log in to Basecamp or Slack. If you work remotely for a company, it’s important that you feel connected and engaged with what’s happening in the office, even if said office is totally virtual. Joining your organization’s Basecamp or Slack chats is a great way to create a sense of community when you work remotely. Even though you’re at home, you’ll be able to bounce ideas off colleagues — and share adorable pics of your dog — just like you’re standing around the water cooler at the office. If you’re a freelancer, fear not — there are plenty of resources for you, whether you join a professional interest group, union, or even start a group chat with your freelancing BFFs. You might also want to consider joining a group like Freelance to Freedom, which offers online community, support, and resources for entrepreneurs and freelancers. Keep in mind it might be beneficial to make connections specifically with those in your field — for example, if you’re in media, check out Study Hall, a digital resource and community for freelance writers and journalists.
3. Schedule regular lunch and coffee dates. One perk of working in an office is you’ll probably rarely have to eat your lunch or make a coffee run alone. Why not build a similar routine into your freelance grind? Make an effort to schedule a once-weekly lunch out with a friend or fellow freelancer at your favorite spot. Not only will you get out of the house and break up your work day a little bit, but you’ll also get a chance to enjoy some much-needed face-to-face conversation.
4. Take a break to browse social media. One hard part about working from home is feeling like you’re out of the loop. Working in an office is like being part of an ongoing conversation, which you might miss when you’re hunkered down in your home office. It might sound counterproductive, but carving out a few minutes each day to hop on social media can prevent you from feeling isolated when you work remotely. If you do take breaks for social media, just set firm boundaries so you don’t fall into an Insta-scroll rabbit hole and compromise your productivity.
5. Participate in networking events. Another great way to enjoy some social interaction is attending networking events in your area. Whether you join in on a professional lunch or happy hour simply to meet other freelancers in your city or you attend more strategically to build up your client base, making an effort to include networking in your routine will likely have both social and financial benefits. Plus, having something to look forward to — like an amazing cocktail at your favorite spot — can do wonders for morale!
Are you an extrovert who works from home? Tell us how you stay social during the work week @BritandCo!
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