Most of the time, I love working from home. It gives me flexibility, the freedom to wear sweatpants to work, and total access to snacks. It’s so helpful to know that if I need to pick up my daughter early from daycare or run to the post office, I can. I don’t have to commute anywhere or leave my house if the weather is really bad. I know that I’ll connect with my coworkers over the phone at least once a week with our staff call. As someone who really doesn’t like talking on the phone, that feels like plenty to me. Plus, as an introvert, it’s nice to not have to be around an office full of people all day long—even if I really like those people, like my coworkers.
That said, working remotely can occasionally feel, well, remote. Even for an introvert like me.
Email is (mostly) effective for getting things done, and I have praised Slack so much I feel like an unofficial spokesperson. I don’t usually feel disconnected from my coworkers, mostly thanks to Slack. Our staff call helps me stay caught up on business, and we have a few Slack channels to lend a water cooler vibe to our digital office. (Our books channel has become an essential tool in curating and culling my library hold list.)
But sometimes, I do feel disconnected, or lonely, or even just uninspired or unmotivated.
How to remedy this? Two words: Robot Turtles.
Hear me out. Despite my aforementioned phone aversion, I am required to be on the phone from time to time because of my remoteness. And this week, the whole staff hopped on a call that was not a regularly scheduled call, but rather, a brainstorming session. Somehow the conversation landed on robot turtles and everyone had a pretty good laugh. Oh, and the brainstorm part was effective, too. The impromptu call and the fun helped to shake up my routine. Afterward, I felt refreshed and ready to dive back in.
Here are some other tricks I try when the remoteness of working remotely is making me a bit lonely, sluggish, or stir crazy.
- Listen to a podcast. I’m not always in the mood for it, but when I am, listening to other people talk while I’m working makes me feel less lonely.
- Go for a quick walk. Not only is it nice to take a break, it can give you more energy and sometimes human (or animal) interaction, too.
- Do a few yoga poses. Getting up and stretching can be a nice break and a good way to reset before jumping into a task.
- Act like a toddler. I know it’s weird, but sometimes running around, spinning until you fall over, or singing at the top of your lungs can shake things up.
- Work in a public space. For days when you’re feeling lonely, head to the library or a café. Just being around other people, even strangers, can abate the lone wolf feeling.
- Meet someone for lunch. Lunch plus someone you know sounds like a winning combo for fulfillment. (See what I did there? FULL?)
- Ask if anyone needs help. When I find that I’m procrastinating or dragging my feet with something, I sometimes check in with my coworkers to see if they need help with anything. That way, I’m still getting something productive done.
- Do a few chores. I’m talking like 15 minutes of dishes or folding laundry or maybe vacuuming a few rugs. It’s a brain break, plus you feel like you accomplished something and sometimes that can motivate you to accomplish more.
If you’ve got any more tips on overcoming working remotely, let me know!