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Working from home, not alone

Working from home, not aloneMy 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.

8 thoughts on “Working from home, not alone”

  1. I’m so lucky lucky lucky to be one of your closest friends, Lisette. I love that we get to play and work alongside each other…even though we’re an ocean apart.

  2. Today was a wonderful day to be in remote partnership with you, Lisette! They’re all delightful, but this one was ESPECIALLY wonderful, and now you’ve put the cherry on top with this post. THANK YOU!

  3. as I’m the classical ambivert wanting to be with others and to be alone at the same time.. there’s a perfect solution to it. Have a look at http://www.sqwiggle.com and get your people on the screen without being disturbed and have the chance to chat and talk whenever you (and they) like. (And no – i’m not working fpor them – I just love that piece of software).

  4. Hi Guido, Thanks for your comment! I’ve used sqwiggle before and I also really like the software. Since I’m mostly working one-on-one with my collaborators, it’s not particularly handy in my situation. But if I were working in more of a regular distributed team setting, I would absolutely use it more often.

  5. There’s a good amount of work out there about how closely highly sensitive folks like us are aligned with high levels of empathy. Empaths are adept at seeing the feelings, thoughts, emotions and sensitivities of other people in a way that most other people are not. With this Superpower we can help others make improvements and become more aligned themselves. Humbling and interesting!

    1. The connection between remote working and highly sensitive people has been rolling around in my head for a while now. If you have links to research or other resources, feel free to send it my way!

  6. Great blog post , though I think I needed a tiny mention 🙂
    I so miss working ‘alongside’ you Lisette – you made me feel very much like we were always working ‘together’.

    1. You’re right! In fact, you deserve more than a mention. When Qtask went out of business, I couldn’t imagine loving another job as much as I loved that one. But working with you and Dale changed all of that. Our online collaboration was a huge success – and not only that, it was fun! Absolutely the ideal scenario.

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