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I write this because over the last year or so, I have been laid off and then went to work for an organization to get off of unemployment. That job required that I commute 5 hours a day. That was not going to be sustainable for me so I continued to look for work elsewhere. I have been very fortunate to find a job with a very well known organization that allows me to work from home 100%. So I am in a feast or famine situation. I have only been at this job for two months. The people I work with all work remotely as well. Unlike in an office, there is very little opportunity for casual conversations. Everyone is extremely busy so any conversation ends up being just about the work you're working on.
So I am struggling to feel connected to the team and doing what I need to do on the job. I am wondering if what I am feeling is my no longer enjoying the profession I have been doing for over 20 years. I need to work for another 8 to 10 years before I can retire with even a little bit of money in the bank. I would love to find a job that I truly love even it it means a part time job that I can turn into a a full time job once I retire. Is it too late for me to seek this out or should I just suck it up for the next 8 to 10 years?
I've been working remotely (solo) for 6 years and have felt the same way sometimes.
Recently I've set up a Slack chatroom with about 20 other solo remote web developers and we just chat about nothing and animated gif's and whatever in our industry (WordPress).
I know a number of other companies have a similar chat room for their employees to talk about whatever during the work day.
Could you have something like that at your job?
We have some remote workers in the US and overseas. Both parties need to be very intentional to keep everyone engaged and feeling part of the team. There is a great book called REMOTE: Office not required, by the guys at 37Signals who also wrote REWORK. I've read it and also sent it to our remote workers as a way to spark the conversation on how we can work together better.
I understand your frustration. Working remote is a very different situation. Nobody is really ready for it!
When I tell people that I work from home, they all say some variation of "...Wow! You are so lucky!"
Ha! Not quite. There are as many disadvantages are there are advantages. It's just a different environment -- and it is not for everybody. Try focusing on the positives you get from teleworking:
Avoid commuting, wear comfortable clothes, listen to the music you like, decorate your work space to energize you! Make everything as enjoyable as you possibly can.
Then, find ways around the parts that you don't like (feeling isolated, missing casual conversations, etc.). Try to find other friends you can visit with during the day and the afternoon. Adjust the environment to meet your needs (working in the office requires us to adapt to their environment).
Every company has a personality. The people that work there tend to follow the same unwritten rules. If none of the remote workers are chatting during the day, it is unlikely that will change. It take a lot of change the personality of a company.
Curtis and Tom both made excellent suggestions. Try to find a way to chat with others (inside your company, or outside) during the day to provide the social interaction you need.
This intrigued me and before I comment more, I'm wondering - since this was posted in October 2014, where are you now? What did you decide?