Do you have to be a loner to enjoy working from home? If you’re one of the millions of people who don’t leave the house in the morning and go to the office, you know the days can be long. There’s no water cooler, no lunch brigade, no one to talk with when a break from work is needed. That is until recently. While no one waits around the corner to have a chat, there are plenty of other people hanging out in virtual break rooms. Has social media created the virtual office?
I work from home—writing and working on social media for my clients. I happen to be a very social person—I thrive on human interaction. But when I write, I enjoy solitude. After a few hours though, I crave a break. With the click of my mouse, I can hop on to Facebook, post a comment, and within minutes—sometimes seconds, someone responds. I am not alone. I scroll through my page and catch up on the latest—what my friends are working on, what they’re reading, a new trend in social media, or a witty cartoon about the writing life. Move over to Twitter and I can join a chat, reply to a tweet, or browse for interesting content. Before I know it, half an hour has passed and I have to resist the temptation to spend too much time “socializing” and get back to work.
I have been astounded by the support and camaraderie I’ve found through relationships built on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Much more than merely channels for self-promotion, social media can be a gateway to unlimited new friendships and alliances—if you want it to be. I’ve received support, advice, encouragement, and help from friends I have never laid eyes on. Because of these relationships my books have been reviewed by newspaper editors, bloggers, and other authors. I have found new colleagues and clients through connections made on social media and have established a wonderful network of associates and mentors.
If I need more expertise on a topic, a few keystrokes and I can find a webinar or video on YouTube to help me. There is very little unavailable to me on the 13 inch screen that sits on my kitchen table.
As for face-to-face interaction—conferences, workshops, and book events still fit the bill nicely. Working from home has its benefits and its drawbacks. It can be as solitary or as social as one chooses. As for me—I choose social. My friends all around the globe enrich my life—and I look forward to making more every day.