Remote Work Community
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a lot of lifestyle changes to people all around the globe. From fashionable face masks and hand sanitizer keychains to overhauls of global immigration policies, our ways of life are being affected on every scale.
Some trends will last longer than others, and one of the most significant cultural changes will be the shift towards remote work.
An analysis done by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics found that over the last five years remote jobs increased in the United States 44% and over the previous 10 years remote work grew 91%. Between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work.
This trend is virtually guaranteed (pun intended) to continue rising.
In a 2019 State of Remote Work Report, Buffer asked over 2,000 remote workers if they would like to continue working remotely for the rest of their career and 99% of participants said yes.
Remote work was once a future dream envisioned by progressive thinkers. Now it’s becoming a viable option for a very large section of the global workforce.
While this is old news for digital nomads and long-time WFHers (work-from-homers), many people are going to be experiencing location independence for the first time. While this sounds like a dream come true for some, others may be worried about the new challenges that remote work imposes.
And with good reason. The same report by Buffer asked remote workers what their biggest struggle was and this is how they responded:
I’ve been working remotely for the better part of five years, and these responses come as no surprise to me.
Before working in digital marketing, I worked in the service industry for 8 years and taught English as a second language for two. The majority of my friends from that decade were met through work. I’m still friends with tons of coworkers from the kitchens, cafes, and schools I worked in.
After transitioning to a remote position in marketing, my social life changed drastically. My colleagues were often in different states or even different countries. We chatted on slack all day, but the occasional virtual happy hour did little to compensate for the fact that I was totally alone after the workday.
While my path is obviously unique to me, I believe many people can relate. As the graph shows, many people stay online longer and suffer from loneliness due to the lack of social interaction inherent in remote work, even if they’re part of a remote team.
One of the major reasons for this is that a virtual community is quintessentially different than an in-person community.
Yes, remote work comes with a suite of great benefits like flexible scheduling, location independence, and extra free time, but it also removes us from face-to-face interactions that nourish our desire to connect with other humans.
This can cause us to experience intense feelings of isolation. Many of my friends have experienced anxiety, depression, and severe loneliness after going remote. This will have a serious impact on your quality of life, no matter where you are.
So how do we actually combat this solitude and finally find that work-life balance we’ve all heard so much about?
Many companies have annual or quarterly meetups. This is a great way to catalyze connections and friendships between employees. But can one week out of fifty-two really solve the problem? And what about freelancers and people working on small start-ups?
That’s where the remote work community comes into play. In order to find a true community and connect with other people face to face in real-time, you’ll have to rethink what a work community is.
When I was surrounded by co-workers, making friends was easy; it just came naturally (even for an introvert like myself). After shifting to remote work, finding a community was no longer a natural process. It took me years to realize that I had to actively search and engage with other people in similar situations.
This was one of the most valuable lessons I learned. My co-workers were just a small portion of the remote community. The real remote work community is a vast network of employees, freelancers, and entrepreneurs spread around the globe.
But how can you tap into this network and actually become a part of this community? Here are three ways you can access the remote work community:
1. Coworking Spaces
If you live in or near a city, there’s a good chance you have a coworking space within commuting distance. This can be a great way to change up the scenery, meet new people, and find inspiration.
Coworking spaces are dedicated to providing remote workers with a productive and interactive work environment. Many put on events and provide resources geared towards networking, business growth, and establishing a work-life balance.
This is one of the best ways to start putting yourself out there and expanding your community.
By now you’ve probably heard of digital nomads. That group of remote workers that were flying around the globe (pre-pandemic) traveling to Bali, Thailand, Cape Town, Medellin, and other “hot spots.” What you may not have realized is that you don’t have to be a “nomad” to travel and work.
Many people have apartments or homes in one location, and travel for a portion of the year. It’s relatively easy to budget out a month or two of travel (especially if you can rent your place on Airbnb or another short-term rental site) and get out of town.
Traveling to one of these hot spots pretty much guarantees that you’ll run into other location-independent workers. All you have to do is join a Facebook group, pop into a coworking space, or figure out whether this place uses Tinder, Bumble, or Hinge to arrange meetups.
3. Join a Group
Both of the prior options require a significant amount of work to integrate yourself and network with the remote work community. For some, that’s no problem. For others, like me, it can be a little intimidating and overwhelming to go out of my way to network and insert myself into social circles.
That’s why joining a pre-established remote community is the best way to access the benefits of coworking and coliving. And it’s not just for introverts!
The coolest part of remote groups like Wifi Tribe, Remote Year, Unsettled, Outsite, Remote Life, and Hacker Paradise is the community that you’ll instantly become a part of. These programs are designed to bring people from all around the world together and forge friendships while working and living together.
What Makes WiFi Tribe Different?
Since day one, the WiFi Tribe has held their community at the center of their values. Over the year the business has changed and grown to inspire and include one of the most diverse and inclusive international communities of remote workers in the world.
Every staff member is also an active part of the community – you’ll meet at least one or two on every chapter you participate in.
Each chapter is wonderfully diverse and unique, and the Tribe remains steadfast and committed to providing its members with the tools, resources, and inspiration to thrive in a remote career. Everyone in the tribe is a valuable member of a friendly, welcoming, and uplifting community.