Why everyone needs a sounding board at ‘work’
And how The Hoxby Collective might be the perfect community for you
No-one ever had an idea that wasn’t improved by talking it through with someone. Humans are social creatures, designed to learn and share through communication. Particularly in our working lives, we all need a community we can access for problem-sharing, idea-developing and sanity-checking.
The old sayings that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and ‘two heads are better than one’ really does ring true. I’ve enjoyed a flexible freelance workstyle for the past five and a half years. Although it has many, many benefits, when wading your way through a big remote project you really do need to touch base with some like-minded human beings to keep you grounded. (At this point, I should thank Costa for liberally sprinkling the UK suburbs with caffeine and WiFi enabled venues ideally located for remote working freelancers to get together).
Likewise if you’re working in an office and need support then you can grab your nearest friendly co-worker and talk it out over a cuppa. But it’s a bit trickier if you happen to be working on the other side of the world eight hours ahead of the rest of your team. It could be very easy for remote workers to feel lonely and isolated — and research done in 2014 by the University of Warwick confirmed that productivity falls when workers are unhappy.
At The Hoxby Collective, our Associates are spread globally across twelve countries and all work remotely. But forget any images you might have of Hoxbies isolated in their home offices by geography and time zones and slowly going mad — we harness technology to bring us together as a community to work collaboratively, bringing out the best in each other, and helping one other to have a properly fulfilling work life.
Whether we’re having a project team meeting in Google Hangouts, jointly editing Google Docs or saying hi to new Hoxbies and putting the world to rights in our Slack channel #thewatercooler, we use virtual tools to help us harness the benefits of being part of a team, not only to collaborate and ruminate but also importantly to share and celebrate success, including our weekly nominated Hoxby Hero.
We also have the opportunity to get together face to face at the monthly Hoxby Home days when we rent a house or inspiring space in a major city where locals can meet their fellow Associates, bounce ideas off each other, and generally have some company, whether they are working on Hoxby projects that day or not.
Hoxby Associate Gemma Teed is a Yorkshire-based Account Planner (aka Strategist) who never quite grew out of the pony-mad stage.
Originally published at hoxbycollective.com on April 20, 2016.