Working virtually did not come naturally to me. There I said it. I’m a social person. I love brainstorming. I love collaborating. I love chatting by the water cooler.
So when I made the leap to working virtually from my home it wasn’t the smoothest of transitions. The productivity thing was great. Being a mom of three, a chicken farmer (kind-of), in addition to being a team member at Don’t Panic Management, I have no choice but to be highly productive. But something was lacking.
This definition from Fast Company really clears it up:
Introverts (or those of us with introverted tendencies) tend to recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds.
Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from other people. Extroverts actually find their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone. They recharge by being social. (AKA Tricia Keels)
Knowing that this move was great for me, my family and our chickens, I put together this list of coping mechanisms for an extrovert working in solitude.
An Extrovert’s Survival Guide to Working Virtually
Hit the Nearby Coffee Shop.
Know your limits. When you’ve spent too many days working from home, visit a bustling coffee shop or bookstore to work. Even if you don’t talk with anyone, the energy in the room helps to recharge.
Plan Client Meetings as Google Hangouts.
Face time is always important in any client relationship. And having your meeting face to face instead of a conference call gives you the sense of the conference room.
Listen to Podcasts.
Keep a list of podcasts you’ve been wanting to listen to and play them when you need some noise. The things you’ll learn from listening to educational podcasts is a nice bonus, too!
Make a Virtual Friend.
Find a friend who also works virtually. Send them a good morning note like you would if you greeted them at the office. I promise they’ll appreciate it and write you back.
Be Willing to Join Brainstorms.
Let your team members know you’re up for a good brainstorm. They appreciate your fresh ideas to something they are working on and you’ll appreciate the banter.
I hope these tips give you new ways of filling that social need in the midst of working virtually. Of course you always need to strike a balance. In the wise words of Carl G. Jung, “There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.”
What do you do to keep connected when working virtually?
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