Working remotely has significant perks. It allows for more flexibility, removes the cost and time of commuting, and can provide people with a better work-life balance. However, it also has some downsides, such as communication mishaps, difficulty connecting with colleagues, and loneliness. Because working from home can be isolating, building a community you can rely on when you need interaction and collaboration when working remotely is important. Having a community of colleagues or other friends who work from home can help to prevent isolation, build more vital collaboration, and boost productivity. Some ways to build community when working remotely are scheduling virtual meetings, getting out of the house, attending or hosting lunch and learn events, and joining online learning communities.
Virtual networking events
Attending virtual networking events is a great way to build community when working remotely. These events can be found through a quick Google search, checking LinkedIn, or signing up for a newsletter for industry groups or influencers. They are a unique way to connect with other professionals, build relationships, and create a sense of community. A wide variety of events are often offered, including opportunities for learning and developing skills or a virtual getting to know you event. Virtual networking events are convenient in that you do not need to travel or take time off work to attend. Meeting others through these events can lead to new professional opportunities or help combat the lonely feelings that can come with working from home. Attending virtual networking events can provide a chance to broaden your knowledge in your industry while building relationships and community with other remote workers.
Get out of the house
When working remotely, staying in the house for several days can be easy. However, it is crucial to get out of the house in order to take care of your mental health and also to build a strong community. Small interactions that are made by going for a walk around the block or working from a coffee shop can help you to feel a sense of community and connect with those you come across when getting outside. Working from another location can also open you up to building relationships with those you see working outside the home. If your company offers a hybrid work setup where some days you work from home and other days you go to the office, consider going to the office at least once a week to connect with colleagues in person. If your company offers book a desk software you can schedule yourself to work near a new colleague or schedule to sit with a group of colleagues to connect with individuals you may not be able to communicate with when working remotely. Utilizing this hybrid schedule will allow you to build a community at the office that you can then schedule a time to connect with on the days you work remotely.
Lunch and Learn
Another great way to build community when working remotely is attending lunch and learn opportunities. Many companies offer these throughout the month, and if they don’t, suggest to a manager that they start offering them. These events provide opportunities to connect with colleagues, learn about new topics, and encourage you to take a break from your routine work during the day. Lunch and learn events offer community and connection with colleagues because you can learn about a new topic, get to know each other, and have some fun outside of work. You can add some fun to the events with unique icebreakers, fun Zoom backgrounds, or having a raffle for colleagues that show up.
Join Online Learning Communities
Being remote and doing all your work online often leads to a struggle to build community. However, you can join an online learning community to connect with others with different experiences, careers, and perspectives. You can sign up for courses through these communities to build professional development and grow your industry. These communities offer resources and webinars for remote workers to develop their knowledge and stay current on the industry’s best practices. It gives opportunities to build community by expanding your professional network and establishing yourself as a leader in your field. Online learning communities are a unique way to connect with like-minded individuals you do not currently work with.