Tell anyone you work from home, & the response if very likely a chorus of cheers for the flexibility of schedule, location freedom & the ability to skip showers & wear yoga pants all day. There is no doubt about it: a home office has definite perks. But ask any girl who works from home on the daily & she'll tell you that life can get a little lonely, answering emails from the couch.
It's human nature to crave connection & when working from home, you very quickly miss the natural connection & camaraderie that happens with coworkers. Making friends as adults is already harder than it's ever been, & it's common for us to rely on our workplace to be where we get our social interaction after our school years. With the "working virtually" trend being on the rise, or (like many of us) we work for ourselves, there are lots of us in the same boat: looking for ways to make friends outside of the workplace.
Try a co-working space.
Here's a statistic we love: According to the 2018 Global Co-Working Forecast, 1.7 million people will be working from shared spaces by the end of 2018. (Holla!) That is ample opportunity to periodically recreate the morning water cooler chat! Co-working spaces are really coming into their own, with some even taking it a step further and becoming social clubs. Co-working spaces are popping up all over, & even in our own neighborhood. While we're (obviously!) biased to loving the girl-tribe-vibe that we've got going on here at The Dostal House, the NewBo District is also home to Yoimono, Office Evolution, & The Vault.
Change your scenery.
Have you ever visited your local coffee shop & not seen others posted up, hard at work on their laptops? So it's not a new idea to work from your fave cafe... but how you approach working from a new spot is the key to making new connections.
The next time you're working from your choice of caffeinated beverage provider, take your headphones out & look around. Get chatty with the staff. Introduce yourself, tell them what you're working on & that you love meeting new people. Pay attention to who you see on the regular there, & (this sounds so obvious... but...) make eye contact & smile. :)
Source: Burst Cycle
How about your hobbies.
When you close that laptop, what do you like to do? Are you up in the gym, working on your fitness? Join a group class... strike up conversations with the chick sitting on the spin bike next to you. Love to get lost in a book? Look into local book clubs. Chatting up the staff at your favorite bookstore is a great way to find out about these (&... ahem... The Book Club at The House meets for lunch the last Wednesday of every month... *wink*).
Get social on social media.
Seems ironic, right? Social media platforms are designed to drive engagement & build communities... so use them for what they are intended! "Get social" means more than "liking" or commenting with your go-to emoji. If your usual go-to is casually scrolling & double-tapping your way through your favorite platform, carve out a few minutes to actually reach out to people a little more authentically. On Instagram you can search via places, which makes it super easy to see who is frequenting your favorite spots & may have something in common with you. For example, type in your favorite coffee shop & select by "places." Who else has tagged themselves there, & what does their feed tell you about them that gives you an opportunity to leave a genuine comment?
Check out a conference, workshop or industry event.
Building relationships within your industry is valuable, period. Before attending a conference or event, do a little research to see who else might be attending that you already know. Use LinkedIn as a tool to find others in your same role, but at different companies, that you can reach out to for meet-ups. What about attending it outside of your own work industry, but are still relatable or that you find interesting? Think outside the box for places you can position yourself around people that you may have common interests, & then show yourself friendly.
How have you met friends outside of the office? Tell us how you did it below!