Written by: Jen Carlevatti // Dec 1, 2020
Last updated: Dec 1, 2020
Do you roll out of bed in the morning and head straight for your laptop? Spend the entire day in your PJs and fuzzy bedroom slippers? Find yourself longing for a trip to Target just to get out of the house for 20 minutes and talk to, well, anyone?
If you can relate, you’re probably a remote worker. But working from home doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit. We’ll share some tips that show you how to maintain a social life while working remotely.
Make Time for Life Outside Work
Of the many pros and cons of working remotely, one of the most challenging is managing your time. Having control over your workday’s start time can be a real boon. However, with no set stop time, it’s easy to work way past what’s required. According to Buffer’s 2020 State of Remote Work, a full 18 percent of people working from home find it difficult to unplug from their jobs.
When work hours bleed into personal time on a regular basis, it leaves less bandwidth for establishing and maintaining healthy social connections. So, what’s a remote worker to do?
Start by setting a schedule and sticking to it. Then, make plans for after work! Meet a co-worker for a jog in the park. Schedule a virtual happy hour with your buddies who live three states away. Join other parents for a socially distant play date with the kids.
There will be times when it’s necessary to put in more time than the standard eight-hour day, but try to avoid “schedule creep” as much as possible. Social activities are a critical way to re-charge your batteries and avoid burnout.
Connect With People IRL
Spending all of your time on Slack, Zoom, and social media counts as being social, right? Not really. There’s considerable evidence that shows an increase in online activity, particularly virtual meetings, is leaving remote workers drained. There’s even a new term to describe the phenomenon: Zoom fatigue.
To combat the effects of too much screen time and stave off loneliness, commit to meeting people IRL (that’s “In Real Life” for those of us over age 25). It can be difficult to do while the pandemic rages on. However, even little social connections can help. Meet a friend for a coffee date al fresco. Chat up the cashier at the grocery store. Catch up with your backyard neighbors. Even brief conversations can keep your social muscles limber. When we’re able to roam freely again, expand your activities to happy hours, game nights, dinner parties, and more.
Most remote workers enjoy the ability to throw in a load of laundry between projects or run errands in the middle of the day. Why not take advantage of the flexible scheduling that remote work affords to volunteer? It’s a great way to give back to your community, connect with other altruistic people, and earn some warm fuzzies for your efforts. It’s a win-win scenario.
Join a Gym or Fitness Class
A tried and true method of improving physical wellness, joining a gym or fitness class comes with some significant social benefits, too. Namely, you’ll get out of the house to meet like-minded exercise enthusiasts instead of sweating to the oldies by yourself. Just be sure to strike up conversations before or after class instead of in the middle of an intense workout.
If gyms are still closed in your area, or you don’t feel comfortable venturing into an indoor space just yet, a recent explosion of online fitness classes could fit the bill (although social opportunities will be somewhat limited).
Get Out of the House
Remote work is likely here to stay even after the pandemic subsides. In a few months, if you find yourself among the ranks of permanent remote workers, you can give your social life a big lift simply by changing your surroundings.
Coworking spaces can be a great way to bridge the gap between working in an office and working at home. With so many remote workers filtering in and out all day, it’s easy to chat with your fellow WFH compatriots or use the kitchen spaces to share a meal. Coworking spaces can be pricey, though, so you may want to explore other options first.
Another classic choice is a local coffee shop (or anywhere with a good Wi-Fi signal). Become a regular and spend at least one-day per week at the same location to build your network and gain the most social benefit. Also, don’t forget to be considerate of the business where you’re working. It’s not an office, so holding loud meetings or failing to make a purchase every few hours may draw management’s ire.
Join a Group, Team, or Class
One advantage of the digital age is that it’s a snap to find activities that interest you. To get started, check out Meetup or Facebook Events to find local activities like soccer leagues, baking classes, wine and painting events, and book clubs. Shared interests are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, and the cyclic nature of these events will give you something to look forward to while sustaining social connections over time.
Speaking of classes, USF Corporate Training and Professional Education offers a wide array of professional development courses that can help you learn new skills AND connect with real people. Take a look at our upcoming offerings and register to give your resume and your social life a boost.