by Victoria Vanderbilt, Founder and CEO of TelecommutersTalk
Remote working is growing – more and more of us now work from home (or “telecommute”). it definitely has many advantages both for employers and employees. There are a few downsides, however. Perhaps the main challenge is isolation. You need to go the extra mile to ensure you stay connected and have enough face-to-face interactions. As an introvert, this can be really hard. Like me, I’m sure you would rather go for a walk or read a book, but some human interaction is essential for wellbeing.
Here are a few tips I use to stay connected as an introvert who also works from home:
Stay in touch with friends: Wherever you live, these days you can take your current circle of friends with you, thanks to technology. After trial and error, I have realised the best option for me is to connect with the friends I already had, in addition to seeking new ones. I was amazed at the satisfaction I felt just from a text or a phone conversation.
Use technology to keep in touch with old friends, wherever you’re living now
Reach out to build connections: It is hard to reach out, but I find a few local Moms that I can connect with and who have the same priorities as me, and set up an occasional walk or a lunch date. It helps me stay abreast of the activities happening in the area, and gives me the chance to have conversations that aren’t all about work. It doesn’t need to be too often: I plan these meetups on my calendar for once every few months.
Volunteer: As an introvert, it can be really hard to make small talk with loads of people you don’t know so well. Try joining a book club, or volunteer to help with the school or after-school activities: that way, you are not interacting with a huge group, but you are still staying connected and adding value to your community.
Change location: Once in a while, change your work location. If a coffee shop is too loud for you, I like to go to the library and sit in the central area. I work, but I also take breaks and talk to the librarian or someone else working from the library. All positive experiences add up to enhance my day.
Build in interactions: When you take your kids for their sports activities or talk a walk in the park, be intentional about connecting with other parents or saying hello to a fellow walker. We introverts don’t need too much interaction, just enough to enhance our mood and our day.
The most important thing is to work with your personality and preferences — do what works for you. If you are looking for encouragement Introvert, Dear is an excellent site.
Victoria Vanderbilt is the founder of TelecommutersTalk and is on a mission to address the isolation that comes with remote work, especially for working parents. TelecommutersTalk offers solutions using the 3C approach: Consulting, Connections, and Community.
Many thanks to Victoria for sharing her tips and experiences of working as an introverted telecommuter. For our extrovert friends, remote working can also pose challenges — this article from You Team has some great tips.