Why shouldn't take "work from home" literally

work from home literally

This is part nine of a series on remote work principles. See the previous principle where we talk about how remote work accelerates problems that already exist.

Toiling away in your home office can start to be just as monotonous as your morning commute to an office.

Encourage employees to shake things up by reminding them that as long as they’re getting results (Principle #6) they have the flexibility to work from anywhere.

This work environment can be tailored to what works best for them, whether it’s spending part of their day at a local coffee shop, renting out a desk at a coworking space or simply being able to travel for six months out of the year as long as they can hook up to reliable WiFi. 

One of the perks of a traditional office environment are your workplace relationships. It’s a great place to make friends! If you’re working remotely, you need to actively seek social relationships and actively put yourself out there.

There’s lot of fish in the sea and you don’t need to be in an office to meet them. 

Use your flexible work arrangement to volunteer at an organization, take walks with a neighbor, join a local book club and find people you really enjoy hanging out with, rather than spending time with people you’re seated next to in an office. 

It’s easy to fall into the trappings of a normal workplace schedule and setup, but the beauty of a remote team is the flexibility that it provides. Which means if you want to take that lunchtime yoga class, you can. And if you need to log some evening hours when the kids are asleep, that works too.

Social isolation is real!

Critics of remote work argue that it can be socially isolating. We agree! In fact, many well-known distributed companies agree with this concern.

The question is - what type of isolation is happening?

  • Is it isolation from the rest of the team/company?
  • Is it isolation from the world around you (neighbors, friends, family, etc)?

At Friday, we strongly believe that people are social creatures - this probably isn't a controversial take. If you spend every single day working from home, you may start to slip. Quickly. We’re talking pajamas-all-day-no-social-interaction or friends slippage. 

The truth is that there’s no replacement for real-world interactions. The question is - how much of these IRL interactions do you need to lead your team or run a business?

Meeting up in-real-life is still important (when you are able)

At Friday, we aim to meet up in person twice per year as a team. We are also involved in our local community on a regular basis. Why? Because social interaction is key to the remote work experience. With that being said, this doesn't necessarily have to come from your coworkers!

Here’s examples of what some companies might try. If you’ve got a flexible work arrangement but you’re all in the same area, meet up for monthly happy hours or start a bowling league. On a super distributed team? Pick a new location every year for a week of collaborative work and fun nights on the town. It’s key to mix business and pleasure when the team meets up in person.

Regardless of if your remote team is two or 200, you should think about having in-person events to solidify these working relationships and build trust. And it really helps to give your employees the chance to wear jeans too 🤣

Ready to read the next post in the series? See how process makes perfect when working remotely.