This blog post comes from a place of mixed messages, but hopefully with a bit of this, and a bit of that, it’s where balance comes in. Let me explain.
Recently I saw an Instagram post (by @kickstartsophie) about the discovery of being an introvert, and how freeing and wonderful it was to realise wanting to work from home, alone, is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s far better for some personality types. My fingers couldn’t type ‘I agree!’ fast enough. I loved my last stint of work in an office, but I love working from home and the solitude that goes with it. I work better, I don’t have to worry about balancing productivity with conversation, I don’t have to make a bloody packed lunch. There are limits to how much fun the isolation brings, but for me the pros far outweigh the cons.
And then came the book club. I signed up to the Being Freelance bookclub at the start of the year, partly to force myself to discover some new books, partly for the fun of it. The bookclub (run by @SFolland) is online, taking place over a video call with however many number of people turn up. It’s casual, and social, as book clubs go, and yet I still found myself prepping for it in the same way I would a client call – making sure the webcam worked, a glass of water to hand in case my voice dried up. What I had forgotten was how a social aspect of work can be just as social as walking into an office and saying hi to everyone you see. There’s no preparation necessary for that, and that was the wake-up call. Maybe I do need to inject a bit of socialising into my work week (or work month?) to have a bit of fun doing worky things, but I’d just rambled on about how much I thought isolation and remote working was ace, where’s the sense in that?
Obviously, the answer lies in balance. I’m not going to a book club every day, but maybe I shouldn’t work alone every day either. The conversation, new faces and bonding over biscuits was not only a nice change, but it injected a spark of energy I rarely find on my own (hence this blog).
Now, I’m intrigued to work on this balance further; experiment with home alone vs community. Next week I’m trying a co-working space for the first time. It comes out of a reason of practicality, but after the book club, who knows, I might enjoy saying hi to people!
I’d love to know what you think about working alone or with others, and how a bit of socialising effects your productivity. Leave me a comment here or on Instagram to let me know what works for you.