Thanks to a rise in technology and online-based business, remote work is becoming increasingly popular. And while being a remote worker certainly has its benefits (like being able to work from a log cabin in the Himalayas) – it’s very easy to fall into the traps of isolation and loneliness when you don’t have a traditional workplace.
Making friends as an adult is actually pretty difficult. Add to that starting point the physical absence of work colleagues, and you might feel like forming meaningful connections with new people is a daunting, almost impossible, task. This is especially true if, like many remote workers, you’ve just moved to a new city.
But if this predicament sounds awfully familiar, don’t lose heart! In this article, we’re going to outline some of the most effective ways to stay social while working from home.
Let’s dive in!
Move around – the world is your office
Being a remote worker doesn’t have to mean you work from home.
Sure, many of us enjoy working in the comfort of our own living rooms — but to make friends, it’s going to help if you put yourself out there.
Although that doesn’t mean talking to everyone you see (don’t worry, Steve!), it does mean that you should make yourself accessible to meeting new people.
Think, for example, how easy it would be to meet people if you spent a few hours a day working in your local café, library or park.
As you establish a routine, you’ll more than likely notice familiar faces popping up every now and then. Over time, these people can become friends with just a quick smile or hello. After all — these locations are probably packed with other desperately lonely remote workers!
Attend local events
One surefire way to meet new people is by attending events in your local area. Craft fairs, food markets, music gigs – the list is endless.
By attending these events, you’ll gradually become part of the local community and discover how easily a common interest can spark conversation.
And remember — local events are usually run by passionate and enthusiastic people who love what they do. Take advantage of this, ask a few questions and get chatting – you never know what you might learn.
Explore your hobbies
With local events being led by passionate hobbyists, it’s worth thinking about your own hobbies, too. A shared enthusiasm is bound to make connecting to new people that little bit easier.
Whether you’re into dancing, cooking, playing sports, or fomenting revolution — your town is sure to offer a club that’s right for you.
Making friends really couldn’t be any easier if you’re surrounded by people who enjoy the same things as you do. And what could be better than meeting new people and doing what you love?
Join a co-working space
If you’re looking for something more structured in terms of both your surroundings and routine, joining a co-working space will often provide you with an environment where you can quickly meet new friends.
With remote working on the rise, there are loads of companies all over the world that provide “bookable” desk space for those who work from home.
Although this is a somewhat more expensive route to meeting new friends, a co-working space will introduce you to a very specific group of people who are in the exact same boat as you. And it’s not only these shared circumstances which matter: studies have shown that incidentally bumping into someone every day significantly improves the odds that you’ll form a meaningful connection. (“Incidentally” is the key word — arranging to catch up frequently doesn’t have the same effect. We’re not sure where Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fits into that picture.)
United by your frequent crossing of paths, and your similar experiences as remote workers, these people are particularly primed for friendship. There’s another advantage: they’ll also be super helpful to talk to about the many facets (both good and bad) of life as a remote worker.
Take advantage of industry opportunities
Being a remote worker doesn’t mean that you’re any less part of the industry you work in.
For that reason, when various events are happening in your field – you’re just as entitled to be there as any other professional in the industry.
Attending events like company and product launches, press conferences or even just general industry meet-ups is a great way to meet like-minded individuals.
Beyond industry-wide events, there may also be times when your company arranges to gather everyone together in person. This offers a great opportunity to make friends out of those you already work with.
Less scrolling, more typing
Apps and social media are usually the very antithesis of getting out into the world. But if you use these platforms with deliberate intent, they can provide unbeatable ways to meet new people.
Instead of passively scrolling through your social feeds, why not reach out to a few profiles in your local area and arrange a quick coffee? Although this may feel slightly odd at first, getting in touch with the right people can absolutely be worth it.
For example, you could try searching for users who post under hashtags that are relevant to you. That way, there’ll be a context for why you’ve reached out – as opposed to it all seeming rather fishy.
In addition to social media, there are also apps like Friender, Bumble BFF and Meetup whose explicit purpose is to connect strangers with shared interests. Use these actively, and you’ll make friends in no time.
It might seem like a daunting task at first, but remember that there are thousands of remote workers out there – and most of them don’t like being hermits, either. Take advantage of that, put yourself out there, and make the most of the amazing flexibility that comes with remote work!