We know that more people have been working remotely due to the pandemic. More recently however, it has become clear that this trend is continuing due to preference rather than necessity. According to the Pew Research Center, as of this past January, 59% of U.S. workers are doing their jobs from home “all or most of the time.” That’s a remarkably high number, and speaks to just how dramatically working norms have shifted.
Undeniably, there are a lot of perks to working from home. But there are also some drawbacks –– one of which is that it becomes more difficult to network on a consistent basis. If you can relate to this as a worker who’s “gone remote” though, don’t worry! There are still ways to maintain networking efforts outside of a traditional working environment, and we’re going to go over a few of them below.
1. Use Slack
For those who aren’t familiar, Slack is a messaging tool that businesses use to communicate and share files online. It allows for discussions to be arranged by “channels” (for specific topics or teams), and is particularly useful for helping remote workers stay connected to teammates and companies more broadly.
Outside of general company use though, there are also Slack communities where people with similar interests can meet and connect with each other. Some of the popular options in this regard are “Slack Communities for Women” and “ Slack Communities for Entrepreneurs,” to name just a few. Digital gathering places like these make it much easier to meet other people with whom you may share professional interest –– even from the comfort of your own home.
2. Use Social Media Apps
Social media is another option that is great for business networking and meeting other professionals. Many find that they can make professional connections via platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter –– all of which make it possible to engage with communities related to specific subjects (such as a given career path or industry, in this case). Additionally, LinkedIn provides a professional network that works in some respects like other social networking platforms, but is specifically designed to spark professional connections. You don’t have to exclusively pick one or the other, of course, but maintaining regularly activity on any or all of these platforms will open the door to networking opportunities.
3. Get Virtual Business Cards
Odds are if you’re freelancing or working from home, you don’t have a company-issued business card. You’re also probably finding yourself in fewer situations in which people are expected to exchange such cards as a form of in-person networking. You can, however, make up for this with more modern, digital options that are more convenient for remote workers. Doorway explains that digital business cards are free to set up and can be uploaded right to your mobile devices. This allows you to quickly transfer your professional information and expand your network anytime you make a connection –– be it at a community gathering, in line at a coffee shop, at an alumni event for your old school, or anywhere else of the sort. You can simply transfer your information the same way you might once have done with a card at a corporate meet-and-greet.
4. Join Alumni Communities
We just mentioned alumni events, and it’s worth noting that people who attended the same school often have a strong sense of connection with one another, even (if not especially) once they are outside the walls of their institution. Unsurprisingly then, alumni communities online are excellent places for networking and meeting other professionals –– or even reconnecting with old classmates who share similar professional interests and ambitions. Depending on the nature of the community and the platform it resides on, you’ll likely be able to view some basic information about other users, and you’ll always have some common ground on which to start building a connection.
5. Join Industry-Based Professional Groups
Just about every type of industry has a community or group on social media. These are great communities to join, because they give you the opportunity to network with other professionals in your industry (or perhaps in one you’re looking to get into). At the same time, you can also get the latest news about the hottest topics in the industry, find out what companies are hiring, and even seek expert advice. If you are an expert in the field meanwhile, you can showcase your knowledge by giving others advice, and market yourself as a valuable authority in the process.
Networking while at home may sound difficult, but thanks to various technologies, a remote setup can now be a boundless workplace from which you can connect with others at any time. We hope these suggestions will help you, and for more tips and content relating to freelance and remote working, and a range of other topics, please visit us here at goLance again!