While working from home may seem like the ideal professional setting for some, for others it can mean complete disaster. Trust this extrovert on the matter. Being home alone can drive you completely bonkers.
Although having another one-sided conversation with my dog is appealing to me, it's not an hourly habit I want to get myself into. My mother worries about me enough as it is. So, staying connected and feeling heard is very important to extroverts, like me, in order to keep productivity levels up. And, our sanity too.
For those of us out there that find the solitude of remote work is just too much to handle, don't worry. There are plenty of ways to stay connected and be social at your immediate disposal. So, feel fortunate that you have a vast selection of platforms for communication in today's technologies that people who lived through previous pandemics couldn’t have even fathomed. These communication platforms are the key to helping us all get through this one.
So, let's discuss all the ways in which you can stay social and safe with your co-workers and community throughout your day during this pandemic.
Go Offline, Online Together
When the office is back in full swing and we're all allowed to be within six feet of each other without masks on again, I bet you won't just be sharing your space with just yourself. There are always times when we all need "our space", even in the workplace, but you're a social creature by nature. And, it only makes sense to want to connect with others that you share your working environment with. Even if you're a little more on the introverted side.
After all, you've got a ten-minute break, an endless amount of steps to get in on your smartwatch, and the latest episode of Tiger King stuck in your head. Who else would you share these thoughts and things with but your work friends? Certainly not Karen in HR. Just kidding. We have nothing against HR. Or, anyone named Karen.
Anyways, the point here is that people lack this sense of community with their co-workers when they have to work remotely. A way to bridge this gap is to set a short daily meet up, preferably with video. Take this time to catch up with your pals at the office. Just like you would during lunch hour breaks. All while waiting to heat up your lunch with everyone else standing by the only microwave in the office.
Setting a short time to simply check in with all your peeps in the office makes working from home all the better for an extrovert. These little "meetings" give you the right amount of lift to keep your outgoing self feeling fulfilled throughout your remote workday.
Cyber Social Events
It's amazing what we've been able to do during social distancing. And, a big piece of our gratitude goes out to the various social media platforms we use in our daily lives. Without our social media pages, we would find ourselves just stuck at home. Alone....with our thoughts. I don't know about you but that is a frightening thought for most extroverted individuals, like myself. So, I for one am very grateful for my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
Mind you, nothing beats genuine human socialization. It takes people actually getting together, interacting with one another, and within physical geography where one could literally reach out and touch another to truly fulfill our need for human socialization. But these times call for tools to help keep us connected without sharing the possible dangers that we all face in this international health crisis.
So, we find ourselves on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and all the social media platforms that help keep us in each others lives during this trying time. And, there is so much we can do together on these channels now. For example, many musicians are putting on live concerts (often complimentary) for you, your co-workers and friends to attend - together.
Whether it's a live concert, stand-up comedy performance, dance performance, or even paint night, making the time to enjoy these cyber social events with your colleagues and community is critical for your overall mental health as an extrovert enduring the stay home, stay safe lifestyle.
Remember, you don't just have to attend these events. You can create them yourself! Maybe you're really good at knitting or needlework. You might be a woodworker, painter, or pickler. It might be about time for you to teach a few folks how to bake that amazing casserole you always bring to the office parties. Set it up! Create an event of your own for your co-workers and friends. It's a great way to stay social with your community and office-mates. And, it gives them the opportunity to get to know you a little better too.
Get Together in Small Groups
It is absolutely safest to stay away from large public gatherings and limit your social engagement at this time. That being said, you take a risk by hosting or attending small, in-house social gatherings. However, that doesn't mean you should refrain from them entirely. It's all just a matter of keeping what you have control over "safe".
There are plenty of things that you have control over here. How clean you keep your home or your workspace, how often you wash your hands, what kind of mask you choose to wear (if you choose to wear one), and who you invite into your clean, sanitized, and safe environment. So, instead of turning into Bubble Boy, take the necessary precautions and preparations to have a small gathering with your co-workers and/or friends.
For example, you could host a game night for 4 people (including yourself) or less. Make sure that all of your guests can stand or sit six feet from each other.
Serve individually packaged snacks and beverages and avoid sharing dishware and utensils. Choose games that require little to no contact. Like charades or Pictionary. Of course, keep your entertaining surfacing and space sanitized and well stocked with sanitizing products. And, make sure your guests wear their masks and wash their hands properly whenever they expose themselves to areas that haven't been sanitized.
I myself have been hosting a girls' night in between myself, my co-worker and cubical-mate, and her roommate at my place most Friday nights. I am a very clean individual and love to host. As I said earlier, I'm an extrovert. So, if I can find an excuse to throw a "party", I will. But I also don't want to endanger myself or any of my house guests.
I've safely and securely cleaned my home, set up standing/seating areas that allow us to be six feet apart, and provided disposable sanitary wipes in every major area of my home. My guests always wash their hands once they've arrived and know to keep what they come in contact with clean and sanitize by using the cleaning supplies I've put out for us to use.
These Friday game nights have been a lifesaver for me as an extrovert. My co-worker too. If it weren't for my co-worker and her roommate coming over once a week for some in-person social interaction well, ...I'm not sure how I would have made it this far.
Keep in mind, the more you choose to go out or invite different people into your home the greater the risk you take at being exposed to COVID19. But if you're lucky and have a trusted group of people that you can rely on to follow the rules of your in-person interactions, don't be afraid to hang out with them safely.
Also, keep in mind that every place you go has different rules and regulations for conducting yourself publicly during this pandemic. Make sure you review all the guidelines that are in place for each and every place you visit. Whether you're moving from state to state or from county to county, be respectful of the mandates that have been implemented for your safety and follow them. This isn't forever. And, neither are the rules that we should all be committed to for our personal interest and the interest of others.
Stay Connected, Stay on Track
When you don't get enough of that socialization time in your life as an extrovert you tend to get distracted pretty easily. While you should be working on that case study, financial profile, or expense report you instead find yourself wondering what you friend from the operations department at the office would have said about the newest piece of tech you just bought off Amazon (even though you don't really need it). Or, thinking about how hard your receptionist would have laughed at the joke you made to yourself just moments ago.
Providing yourself time to connect with others as an extrovert is essential to your business. Don't lock yourself up in your home office and think that passively scrolling through your friend's social media pages will keep you sane. It won't.
Take the time to create online events for your co-workers and friends. Schedule a break to take with one of your co-workers while you're working from home. And, with a great deal of consideration and consciousness, enjoy a small gathering from time to time.
Stay social! Stay safe! 🙂