My boyfriend has started working remotely for the first time at the beginning of this year. He’s never been a proponent, but since the opportunity has arisen, he’s giving it a try. This morning, he skyped me to say that he missed being around people (i.e., going into the office).
I can understand that. He has a very social, extroverted personality: he enjoys going into the office and visiting clients. He prefers making phone calls over sending emails.
While I can work from anywhere, my preferred spot is my apartment. It’s warm, cozy, quiet – and the internet rocks. And it got me thinking… while I am working from home, I’m actually not working alone.
Enter a colleague and Gretchen – my two regular remote collaborators. My colleague lives on the East Coast in the US, and several days a week, we have a Google Hangout. Lucky for me, she’s an early riser and we can begin our collaboration sessions early in my afternoon.
Later in the day, I have a Skype video call with Gretchen, who lives on the West Coast. Gretchen and I have been working together virtually for years. We met (virtually) through a client who tasked us to write a workbook – and when the project ended, we continued our collaboration sessions together – working on our own projects. To this day, we have never met in person – and yet, she is one of my closest friends.
Sprinkle in the weekly Happy Melly Hangouts with my fellow board members, the Hangout on Air interviews that I do, the virtual teas, pies, lunches, and the client meetings – and I find that while I’m the only one working in my apartment – I am hardly ever alone!
For people who are extroverted like my boyfriend, a solution for the solitariness one experiences while working remotely can be solved by moving the work to a public place. For example, renting a co-working space – or working from a client’s office.
For people like me, who are highly-sensitive or introverted, a solution I recommend is to find a virtual collaboration partner… or two. Not only does it help me focus, but it’s great to have someone around to bounce ideas off of. Together with my collaboration partners, I am inspired to try new tools, be more playful, and explore the world of social remote work in new ways.