How To Work Remotely As An Extrovert
For an extrovert, working remotely can feel like trying to achieve the impossible.
As more of us see ourselves working remotely for an extended amount of time, some of us, the ones who love the chats at the water cooler, who thrive in face-to-face meetings, and who have routines of lunching with co-workers miss these types of interactions when we are at home working remotely. Some of you might call us extroverted. But, we are simply very social people.
Video conference calls are great. But, there’s no replacement for face to face interaction. I don’t know about you. But, chatting with my 3 years old does not count as adult social interaction. For the first week, it’s nice to work from home. But after that, you want more. You want discussions. You want inspiration for work. You want to feel like you are not hammering away by yourself in your basement office.
Here’s the thing, even an extrovert can thrive in an introvert-friendly environment of remote working.
These strange things happened when I started working remotely for the first time, but they helped me transition. If you find yourself doing the same, just know that it’s temporary.
- Oversharing on social media
- Having the urge to write
- Book video conferences just to stay productive
- Telling my family about my work headaches and realize they have no clue
- Feeling like a blimp from overeating and not working out
- Cracking an insane amount of jokes when it’s simply not the time to be funny
These are signs that you are craving social interactions. Your current work environment does not fulfil these social needs of yours. When you are boxed in and can’t go out, you can’t exactly invite friends to the happy hour.
Here’s what an extrovert can do to simply get some of these social needs fulfilled.
Change How You Work
Do you work best when you are sitting in front of your desk? How about walking around and talk about your work to yourself in the kitchen? What would a brainstorming session be when you bounce ideas off of yourself while moving around a different living space.
Now, take it one step further, how about calling up a close colleague that you used to bounce ideas off of, then resume that habit over the phone while moving around. Chances are your colleague missed you, too. Your colleague doesn’t enjoy Zoom chats, and instead like to hear your voice while brainstorming with you.
The key here is not to box yourself into a certain way of remote working. Think about how you may want to talk about work while gardening, cooking and engaging in other activities. Then, call up a colleague.
Have Morning Coffee Meetings
One of the best ways to set the tone of your day is to have a coffee chat in the morning with one of your work bestie. It allows both of you to talk over how you’d like to proceed with your day. Simply sharing what you are eating for breakfast and how your kids are managed by your significant other for the morning can help to alleviate the loneliness.
So, engage in that morning coffee together before you move on to your day. You can carry that on when it’s time to break for lunch. You can ask your teammates what they are eating for lunch. Maybe someone wants a lunch buddy over Zoom and some chitchat.
The key here is to realize that the video conference is not just for professional meetings. You can use them to socialize with your team members.
Unplug Often and Work in Chunks
This is one of the best advice I’ve received when I started working from home. It’s one that I stick to religiously now. Your productivity is not defined by the hours that you work. Rather, you can achieve a lot in four hours a day. The point is to make those four hours count.
If you like a schedule, then have a schedule. But, I create a todo list for myself and simply stick to it like a hawk during the week. As soon as I’m done with one big task, I will go do some house chores and socialize.
If you have your significant other working from home, you can take breaks together. My son takes breaks with me and knows when I’m working and when I will be free to hangout with him.
Make The Best of Work Breaks
It’s often hard to take work breaks. When I’m working with a focus on a project, it’s difficult to drag me away from it. But, you will find that you work better with breaks staggered in between.
It took me 6 months to institute breaks into my work routines. But, I’m glad I did. Now, I’m not overly anxious about finishing. Instead, I can focus on the quality of work delivered. I stagger my work into 3 increments all through my day. I take large chunks of breaks in between.
Sometimes, I will play with my son for 2 hours in between just to replenish my creativity and help me focus.
This way of working has eliminated my worst tendencies to procrastinate.
Go Outside Without Leaving Your House
There are so many ways that you can go outside without physically leaving your house. You can sit in the backyard, on your patio, etc..
If you live in an apartment, and I know this may be weird for some people, but close your eyes.
Visualize and meditate to the sound of the ocean for 15 to 20 minutes. Visualize a conversation between you and the bartender. Just be still and visualize the social interactions that you want.
You have the power of imagination at any time you want. So, make use of that. Are your friends on speed dial? Call them up to talk about nothing in particular.
What would you talk to your friend about on the treadmill?
Working remotely may be temporary for you, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy the process. As an extrovert, you can thrive in this environment if you took breaks and just called up your friends/colleagues.
They want to hear from you. They miss you when you are not all in the office together.
So, don’t simply transition to remote work. Instead, work out your social routine while working remotely.