The State of the Remote Job Marketplace report from FlexJobs says there are now 3.9 million Americans work from home at least half the time.
This number is clearly significant, and it’s driven by a number of factors. But one thing not everyone considers is how working from home impacts the psyche, work ethic and workplace culture for members of an organization who work at home.
That’s why I want to share this Harvard Business Review article written by Dorie Clark (and yes, she works from home). Clark writes from her own experiences and learnings, identifying principles she’s found to be “effective in staving off isolation, maintaining productivity, and surrounding oneself with a stimulating cadre of colleagues.”
Below are my headline summaries with some support points from Clark’s article:
1. Find community.
Clark writes: It’s important to seek out an online community of like-minded practitioners… These discussion groups allow you to share successes and challenges and ask sensitive questions that, especially because participants are geographically dispersed, can be answered honestly and without feelings of competition.
2. Leverage video technology.
Clark makes multiple points for why and how video technology can make at-home workers feel more connected: Instead of phone calls, I’ll almost always book Skype or Zoom meetings so that I can see the other person. This helps me read their body language, ensures they’re more likely to remember and recognize me (if we don’t know each other well already), and provides me with a facsimile of in-person interaction… at the end of a day filled with video calls, I’m often socially exhausted and need downtime, just as I would after a round of in-person meetings…
3. Don’t avoid small talk with coworkers.
This one if very interesting. Clark writes: When you work from home, there’s a natural tendency to avoid “wasting time” with small talk; it may seem like a better move to focus exclusively on work-related conversations. But that may be a mistake. As eminent psychologist Robert Cialdini told me, small talk may seem trivial, but it’s actually the cement that creates rapport.
If you work at home, or if you work with others who work from home, I hope you will read all of Clark’s article for more insight!