How much do you resonate with the concerns of this person?
“I’m scared we’ll remain a remote-only workplace. I feel so depressed and disconnected working from home. I’m an extrovert. I really enjoyed coming into work.”
Fear not, extroverts (and social introverts). Our advice will help you feel connected and fulfilled while working remotely, so you can avoid over-sharing with grocery clerks and other random strangers.
Extroverts’ Remote Work Struggles and Advantages
People sometimes mistakenly believe that introverts are shy and extroverts aren’t, but that’s not always the case. It’s all about energy.
- Extroverts are solar-powered – They get their energy externally by socializing with others.
- Introverts are battery-powered – They prefer to be alone to recharge their energy.
The problem for extroverts working remotely is they can’t run into coworkers in their home hallway or kitchen. Extroverts thrive in groups; they like to discuss the latest news and talk through ideas and challenges with colleagues.
When you’re isolated in the same four walls every workday, you can feel bored, less motivated, and socially unfulfilled as an extrovert. You have no one to share the ups and downs of the day. You’d love some spontaneous conversations but worry that you’ll disrupt someone’s focus—your energy balls up inside with no outlet. Even though you’re alone, it’s hard to focus; you find yourself easily distracted by any opportunity to connect with others.
Stay Connected with Your Colleagues
While we frequently say that traditional office environments were built for extroverts, extroverts can also excel in remote work environments! Don’t get discouraged! Because of your communication and collaboration skills, you’re willing to put yourself out there. You take the initiative to invite others to meetings and chats. You start fun Slack channels where people post pictures of their pets. The bottom line is to lean into your drive for connection and find creative ways to recharge your batteries.
Here are some suggestions to give you a jump start:
- Start an online daily coffee chat 30 minutes before you must be at work.
- Schedule a brief coffee, stretch, walking, or lunch break with colleagues either on a web-conferencing platform or phone.
- Arrange virtual lunch-and-learns (or evening drink-and-thinks) every other week. Ask coworkers to share their expertise on specific topics.
- Start a ‘watercooler’ channel on your collaboration platform (Slack, Teams) for hallway chat, idea sharing, and feedback on challenges.
- Schedule solution room sessions: bring a problem and work on it together.
- Find out who else is feeling like you. You’re probably not the only extrovert at your organization who’s feeling disconnected. Get a little vulnerable, be honest, and find your tribe.
Discuss Your Needs with Your Boss
Let your boss know you’re feeling disconnected. Would they agree to a daily check-in with you? Express appreciation if they do since many people have an unsustainable number of meetings on their calendar these days.
Ask for suggestions on getting more involved in collaborative work. Maybe you can trade some of your solitary work for the group work of an introverted colleague? See if your boss can arrange for you to participate in more “social” activities with teammates like project planning, problem solving, product development, or brainstorming sessions.
Keep Your Energy Level High
While extroverts traditionally charge their batteries by socializing, there are other ways to keep your energy levels up.
- Take frequent short breaks to refresh your eyes, stretch your body, and get moving. Find activities that raise your dopamine level—which does not include incessant social media checking.
- Build a walk or workout into your routine and create a Spotify playlist of songs that gets you pumped — instrumentals are best for concentration.
- If you have the space, move your workstation around during the day.
Find Social Connections Elsewhere
Traditionally, we make professional social connections while working together in the same organization. If you’re in a remote work environment, you may need to scratch that itch elsewhere. Here are some suggestions:
- Spend part of your day at a coworking space (if it’s allowed).
- If you have the schedule flexibility, attend professional educational or networking events.
- Join or subscribe to a state or regional professional association, community association, or if you work at an association, join the national, state, or local Society of Association Executives (SAE), or professional meetup group.
Get back in the social swing of things after work.
- Take gym classes.
- Join a running or cycling club instead of working out alone.
- Join a dinner, sports, or book club on Meetup.
- Volunteer at a local nonprofit.
Stay in the Loop about What You Need to Know
Give and you shall receive (hopefully). You may be surprised that others are feeling the same as you when you share your needs. With permission, share department updates, issues you’re wrestling with, and what you’re learning from your members, customers, and other stakeholders. Fostering a community of meaningful communication can help increase the trust and engagement of your teammates.
Trying to find the right balance of everyone’s needs can be hard for leaders. If you are looking for help keeping your team engaged in a remote or hybrid workplace, contact us, we can help.