I used to work remotely in a previous job. We had the option to go into the office and, some days, I was the only one at the office, going in just for a change of scenery. As I worked remotely, I started learning about my work style, strengths, and weaknesses. In a recent poll of our FemCatholic community, women across the country shared that they also experienced self-discovery through remote work. Here’s what they learned:
Surprise! I’m an Extrovert
“I often feel isolated. Working from home is not for me.”
The word “remote” itself has a strong connotation of isolation and loneliness. Extroverts can relate to this even more so, given how energizing it is to be around other people. Through our weekday isolation, some of us have discovered that we are, in fact, extroverts: we thrive on lots of human connection and feel unfulfilled without enough of it. Regardless of how much human interaction we need to be comfortable, we have a social need for human interactions in our workday.
St. Maximilian Kolbe once said that “God sends us friends to be our firm support in the whirlpool of struggle.” While co-workers don’t always become our friends, they are part of our support system at work.
If you’re feeling isolated, here are some ways to connect virtually with your colleagues:
- Set up informal virtual meetups
- Ask to join projects that require collaboration
- Set a calendar reminder to check on your colleague(s)
And when you’re ready to go back to the office, have intentional conversations to make up for lost human connection.
I Need Better Work-Life Boundaries
“I needed to learn to set boundaries between work and life outside of work.”
Some women noted that the concept of “work-life balance” took on a whole new meaning while working remotely. The ease of working from home also means a greater likelihood of working overtime because of the greater the accessibility provided by technology.
If you’re struggling with setting work-life boundaries, try this:
- Create a separate, dedicated workspace
- Set a time limit to check on work communications
- Balance busy days with fun or relaxing after-work activities
I Can Be Both Productive and a Homebody
“I felt happier and more comfortable at home… my attitude made all the difference in the quality of my work.”
Although the cons of working from home were highlighted in our poll, some women reported a higher level of motivation when working from home. Why?
- Stress is more manageable in a familiar setting
- Self-care is easier to manage at home
- Seeing loved ones during our breaks energizes us
Regardless of its pros and cons, working remotely can lead to greater self-awareness. It’s important to keep in mind that women who work remotely aren’t part of a monolith. Our temperaments, careers, and lifestyles shape how we adapt to working remotely. And the good news? No matter how your experience with remote work started out, there are ways to make it more pleasant and productive.