Many of us are social beings who enjoy interacting with other people, and until you leave an office environment, you probably don’t realize how much contact you have with other human beings throughout the day. In an office, you run into people in the hallways, in the lunchroom, and at meetings. It can be easier to have social conversations or even to bounce ideas off of someone when you run into them unexpectedly. When you work remotely, whether you are a telecommuter or a freelancer, it is possible to go the entire day without ever seeing or speaking to anyone. However there are also plenty of ways to replace those interactions with new ones.
Use technology to have conversations with other people. Instant messaging, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites are the primary ways that I talk to people online throughout the day. I regularly chat with clients, friends, and peers in my industry using several of these tools. I’ll admit to not being much of a phone person, since I prefer to talk to people online or in person, but giving people a quick call to chat about work or anything else can help provide some additional contact with other people.
Have lunch with old friends, peers, clients or other web workers. I spend too many lunches dropping crumbs onto my keyboard because it is just too easy to work through lunch when you work remotely. I make myself schedule a couple of lunches a week. It gets me out of the house, and I always end up having interesting conversations with people.
Join or start a group exercise program. This could be as simple as planning a walk several days a week with someone you know in the neighborhood or joining an exercise class at the gym. Combine physical activity to get your butt out of the chair and social interactions!
Take your work out of the house. I like to spend some time working in coffee shops with other people to break up the time working in my home office. I usually save up some work that can easily be done with some distractions (email, administrative tasks, etc.) while saving the client work that requires focused concentration for my home office.
Attend local industry meetups. Find a couple of groups of people working in your industry and attend a few regular events. As Pamela noted, it’s a great way to meet new people with common work interests. You can also use these events to bounce ideas off of people or get feedback on some of your ideas.
How do you connect with other people while working remotely?