For some, the power to work remotely is awesome. Those who prefer it like indulging their homebody tendencies to their fullest. Some take a different route, and become digital nomads – working from wherever their mood takes them.
Whether you work at the same dining room table or from vistas across the globe, make sure to include remote networking as part of your routine!
Why Networking is Important for Remote Workers and Digital Nomads
Networking is important for all workers. While it's much easier to do when working in an office or with a hybrid schedule, remote workers and digital nomads benefit tremendously from building professional relationships. There are two main reasons for off-site workers to include networking in their schedules.
First, networking is a great way to grow professionally. Connecting with people in the same industry allows you to improve your skills, increase your knowledge and learn about what's new and exciting in your sector.
The conversations that naturally happen in an office or while waiting to make copies quickly get lost when leaving the traditional workplace. It's vital to keep these kinds of conversations going and maintain a pulse on what's happening.
Second, all of the perks that come with working remotely don't cancel out the fact that people who work remotely often feel lonely. In fact, a 2020 study found that 61% of remote workers experienced loneliness.
If you haven't included remote networking as part of your priorities, we've got # ways you can start to branch out and improve your working life even more.
When you're reading to start networking, keep in mind that you could meet someone right off the bat with whom you feel a connection. Don't lose that momentum! Be sure to have your information ready to go.
Set up a Popl digital business card with your best contact information so that you can instantly share high-value links that show off who you are. Make sure to optimize the social profiles you're sharing, especially LinkedIn.
If you've set up virtual office hours (more below) be sure to include a scheduling link.
Set up a virtual background so that when you're connecting over video chat people can easily scan your QR code and learn more about you and how to connect.
Taking time to set these things up prior to networking will definitely pay off.
1. Check out the Professional Groups and Communities on Slack
In 2022, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Slack networking was the new way to find jobs. It's also a great tool for remote networking.
Slack has communities, groups, and forums perfect for connecting with other professionals. Take time to find places that feel good for you and connect with others. You'll find groups of digital nomads sharing tips and tricks, connect with people in your industry you might not otherwise meet, and can connect easily from the comfort of your own home.
Platforms like Slack eliminate geographic boundaries.
2. Facebook Groups
Facebook is a great spot for connecting with others. While many of us have joined pages based on interests, it's also great for professional networking.
Facebook hosts an array of professional groups. Some are "lounges" where remote workers can take a break and chat about anything. Others are for digital nomads and discuss meetups, tips for finding your next place to stay and information on wifi capabilities in far flung destinations.
There are also groups that are industry and skill specific.
3. Get a Foot in the Door by Engaging in Lives
If you've had your eye on a company you'd like to work for, be sure to follow them on social media. Many businesses, of all sizes, go "live" on platforms like Instagram to offer a behind-the-scenes look. Remote networking is as easy and consistently showing up and engaging.
You'll learn about the culture of the workplace, and you never know who you might connect with in the comments.
4. Join Local Networking Groups
You don't have to work where you live to join in-person networking groups. In fact, many Chambers of Commerce and other professional membership organizations have started to offer reduced rates for remote employees.
Going to mixers where you're living means connecting with people in and out of your field. Your membership also welcomes the digital nomad who wants to join an informational session or workshop. These are great ways to make connections in any business community, even if your company is headquartered elsewhere.
5. Host Digital Meetups
One of the coolest ways to connect with others is to start your own remote networking group. It can be as simple as inviting a few people from social media, or even remote colleagues, to a session you're hosting where you're sharing a skill.
Perhaps you've started using a new productivity software you love. Invite people to join you in a 15-20 minute walkthrough where you'll show them how you use the free version.
Have everyone introduce themselves, then go into your presentation and then save time for questions. If it goes well, see if someone else would like to present the next month.
Building a remote networking group from the ground up is deeply satisfying and allows remote workers to get exactly what they need from the group.
6. Host In-Person Meetups
It's not unusual to see people on laptops at coffee shops, libraries and co-working spaces. Scheduling a time to work together, even if you're all digital nomads, is a great way to network.
Maybe every Monday from 11-1 everyone is at the same table. If someone is running into an issue, there may be someone else in the group who can help.
Remote workers don't have to approach all networking as formal. Sometimes it's as simple as being around others in a similar situation.
After all, we all know the person in the office who remembers every excel formula there is. Why not figure out who at the coffee shop does? You can thank them with a latte.
7. Join a Co-Working Space as a Digital Nomad
Working remotely doesn't mean you have to be alone all the time. In fact, one of the benefits of remote work is that you can control when you're alone and when you're with others.
Research local coworking spaces to find ones that fit your needs. Many offer everything from access to common areas to full offices. If you're a digital nomad, chances are you'll prefer a punch-card, single-use or temporary membership. Someone doing traditional remote work might like a place where they can go once a week.
While working from the comfort of home is great, a change in scenery is great. Coworking spaces are also great if you're new to an area and want to connect.
8. Join Lunchclub
Lunchclub is an AI-powered site meant to connect professionals. It's a great tool for remote workers and digital nomads. Simply tell the platform about yourself and give feedback as you get matched.
AI takes the work out of finding good connections and allows you to develop meaningful professional connections without the awkward beginnings.
9. Set Your Default Response to "Yes!"
It's easy, and often lauded, to say "no." And saying no is definitely okay. But if it's become your default, it might be time to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Maintaining a work-life balance, especially when you've switched to remote work, is important. Take time, though, to assess whether or not you've gotten too isolated.
When you get an invite to connect professionally, tell yourself you're going to consider it. Remote work often makes it easy to withdraw completely and while you should make and take time for yourself, you should also put time toward connecting with others professionally.
Challenge yourself to say "yes" once a week or once a month and follow through. You'll quickly learn the right amount and build professional connections you're happy you did.
10. Explore Reddit
Reddit is not just for pop culture and advice. It's a great place to connect with other remote workers. Explore groups for connecting with other remote workers, professionals in your industry or about topics you'd like to learn more about.
11. Don't Set it and Forget it
After attending online networking events, don't vanish! If you learned something useful, take time to follow up with the presenter or whomever invited you.
Oftentimes, the people presenting webinars are surprised by the lack of follow-up. But they, like all of us, would love to hear from those they speak to. If something resonates, tell them. If you end up having a question, ask it. If you'd like to research and learn more, request that they provide some resources.
Webinars and other networking events should not be a one and done activity. They should be a way to build professional relationships.
12. Connect with Alumni
Your alumni association is a great way to connect professionally. Take time to read the class updates. Check out who is in your field, find them on LinkedIn and reach out.
it's okay to contact people you didn't know or who weren't in school at the same time as you. If someone is taking the time to send in an update, they're interested in connecting. Reach out and let them know you're in a similar field or also doing remote work. See where the conversation takes you.
And while you're doing that...
13. Share an Update in Your Alumni Magazine
Take the time to write a brief update for your alumni magazine. Share what's been going on professionally. Be sure to include your current status as a digital nomad or that you're working remotely.
Tell people what industry you're working in and feel free to mention that you'd love to connect with other grads.
These are people with whom you shared a common experience, which can make connecting easier.
14. YouTube is Great for Remote Networking
YouTube is a great place for remote networking. If you find yourself watching a how-to video or getting tips on productivity, reach out to the creator to connect.
No one posts online who doesn't want engagement, so this is a great way to find people looking to connect.
There are accounts about the digital nomad life that can help you gain insight, software walkthroughs, podcasts and more on the platform. Use it to find and connect with others you'd like in your professional network.
15. Create Virtual Office Hours
Just because you're a digital nomad doesn't mean you can't schedule time for connection.
Remote workers often have a schedule they stick to during the week. Consider finding a quieter time when you can host "office hours" where colleagues and other professionals can pop in and chat.
This doesn't have to be anything formal. Just a time to connect and discuss what's happening professionally.
Chances are you have solutions to someone's challenge and vice versa. An online pop-in is a great way to quickly connect and collaborate.
Build a Remote Work Life that Includes Professional Networking
What's the saying? "If you build it they will come?" Think of remote networking the same way. If you make time for it, however is best for you, it will work.
It can be hard to add something new, so start small. Join a single group on Facebook or commit to spending 20 minutes a day engaging with professional accounts. Attend one mixer at your local Chamber or connect with other remote workers at a coffee shop or coworking space.
Building time to network is highly beneficial to all workers. With remote workers, though, networking serves a secondary purpose of filling the very human need to connect.