Let me start off by saying that if you are an introvert, struggle to meet new people and are lonely at home, then it’s very likely that the same will happen when you are working remotely abroad.
There is a misconception that by travelling, you will become more sociable, but that is only going to happen if you make conversations and be approachable, which is the same, no matter if you’re at home or abroad.
If you’ve decided that you are likely to struggle to meet new people then you need to take yourself out of the comfort zone and make more of an effort.
Here are my thoughts on how to deal with remote work loneliness.
Attend local networking events
One of the easiest ways to meet new people with similar interests as your own is to attend local networking and social events – a great website for achieving this is Meetup, where you create a profile, include your current location and browse through events that are happening near you.
While in Prague I attended a few events, which resulted in me in meeting new people, both remote workers who travel and local people.
Attending the events will help you discover more about the city, and can be great for finding collaborators and work buddies, which is something I discuss further down in the article. Make sure you try and attend at least one event a week.
Work away from home
After a couple of days, working inside your home can result in you experiencing ‘cabin fever’ so designate at least two days during the week where you go and work in a local café, or, co-location workspace.
While the beach and swimming pools are the worst places to work, you can get creative and find cool spots, which allow you to be productive. Find a nice rooftop bar in a hotel, or, a café in a local art gallery or museum, where you can break up your work.
It’s important that the place is not too distracting but has enough noise to keep you not feeling disconnected and productive.
If you have no choice but to work from home, then use an app like Noisli, which helps you focus on different sounds to create your perfect environment. Open up the windows to let fresh air in, or better still, work out on the balcony, or in the garden.
Use technology to keep in touch
You might be thousands of miles away from family and friends but technology nowadays allows us to easily and affordably keep in touch. Set a specific day of the week to Skype or Google Hangout with family members or friends.
Download Whatsapp or your favourite messenger app and keep in touch on your mobile phone, and reduce the cost of phone calls and text messages.
For work, create a Slack channel so that you can keep in touch with work colleagues, collaborators, and clients that you work with. From within Slack, you can have text conversations, or video and audio calls. There are also lots of open channels for specific interest groups.
Engage on social media
Social media can be a great place to find out what family and friends are up to but also to meet people who have the same interests as you.
One of the advantages for me to create videos on YouTube was to build a community where I can communicate with through the comments and on social media.
You might want to do something similar, or, just create a Twitter account where you can follow people and engage with them. Social media is also a good tool for finding potential clients and learning new skills. Facebook Groups are great for joining in discussions on an array of topics that you might be interested in.
Find a work buddy
Just like a gym buddy, having a work buddy is good for keeping you motivated, productive and helps keep you accountable to work goals. The best place to meet potential work buddies is in co-working spaces, and at networking events.
It’s important that your work buddy isn’t there just to just chat, but they’re actually keen to work and be productive – ideally, they need to have alternative skills than yourself, so, you can help each other out and share skills.
Make an effort to talk to people
It’s time to challenge yourself and leap out of the comfort zone. Every day, make an effort to strike up a conversation with one new person.
Obviously, it’s more of a challenge where English isn’t the main language but this should not put you off, as it will help you learn the language.
Chat with someone on the train, or in the opposite table from you in a restaurant. Ask questions, show them that you’re interested in what they are talking about – be approachable, polite and have a smile on your face. Hopefully, you will have found this useful.