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Ask HN: How has working remotely for long periods affected your social skills?
83 points by ccajas on May 28, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 56 comments
This question is mainly directed at people who work all their hours remotely and have no hours working in person at an office. Especially if you've worked this way for several months or years, how has it affected the way you interact with people? Has it made some things more difficult to you? In particular if you are living single, and aren't living with anyone to take care of (no SO, or no children or other family).



My partner and I both work remotely. We are lucky to be close to downtown Vancouver. We can take a SeaBus into town and venture to one of the many co-working facilities if we feel we would like to work in a more bustling environment. My partner has a dedicated desk at WeWork. I prefer the home office because I love being around our plants and I am prone to random bouts of meditation.

Remote working has allowed me to flourish socially. I have a recreational hockey team, we are part of a nice Yoga community, and given that we spend lots of time around our neighbourhood, we have met many friends, from the lady who cleans our building to the dude who owns the coffeeshop. Soon, I will be volunteering at the local hospice.

When you decouple social contact from work, the onus is on you to find a healthy replacement with the extra time and flexibility that remote life affords you. As is often the case when starting something new, you may find the first leap into a new social scene to be a harrowing experience. But it is rewarding! Much of this is because we live an urban life-style. I imagine being in a sub-urban neighbourhood might be much tricker to manage, as the people and amenities are further away. Consider how likely you are to stay working remotely. Perhaps a more "vibrant" area of town that allows you to walk to wonders might suit you better?

As an interim solution, my partner and I have both found that scheduling purely social calls, or 'no agenda, just banter' group video chats to be a fruitful means of connecting with the people with which we work.


I work remotely from downtown Vancouver as well and agree that it's a particularly good environment for remote work. I'm two blocks from the beach so at this time of the year it's great to be able to take a break from the computer and stroll down to the water.

Similar to what some others mentioned, I'm more of an introvert so I find remote work make me more social if anything as I don't "use up" my social energy being in an office and can instead use it more selectively on interactions that I get more value from.

You do have to be more proactive about socializing. I have a number of regular activities like krav maga classes, a personal trainer and have just taken up swing dancing with my girlfriend. It helps that I already had an established social circle, partly from previous office jobs, and I make an effort to see those friends reasonably often.

I know a few other remote workers too and I'll sometimes meet up with them for lunch or coffee, plus my girlfriend doesn't have a regular schedule so we'll sometimes meet for lunch in the week.

Overall I'm much happier remote working and would have a hard time ever going back to non remote work.


I too am remote in BC (Quadra Island), though will be visiting Vancouver next week to finally meet my manager. Having a life, social and otherwise, outside of work is absolutely important. The non-office environment permits a certain flexibility time-wise, so it's sometimes convenient to walk the dogs down to the store. I can see people there, as well as at the gym after work, or at other activities.

My employer has many remote employees, so there isn't so much of an in-office vs out culture, and various chat, email and meeting technologies make it convenient to "meet". To that end, our group has just started doing a cameras-on meeting every other week or so. The idea is to get more of a face to face aspect, for those who need more of that sort of contact.


I am not as extroverted, so working remote has actually made me less proactive about going out. I'm not much into athletic activities, or meeting up with strangers, and I find solo activities/hobbies more interesting most of the time.

To be honest I think it's done a number on my social skills. Ever since I worked remotely I have not been able to do well on interviews as I used to. When I started out my career, it took me 3 months to get my first job as a programmer. Now, I've been interviewing for 3 years and counting. Seems like I sound kinda "off" with all the people I've interviewed with since in the few times I have gotten feedback, they say I sound nervous. 3 years of interviewing practice (I consider every real interview to also count as "practice") has not made much progress it seems.

I haven't put much effort in meeting new people. The only people I talk to today are my close relatives and two of my closest friends. And no partner to lean on socially. In fact I have never had a serious relationship in my 36 years of living. Would you consider this par on course for an introvert working remotely, or am I taking social reclusion too far?


I would not consider myself an extrovert. I am much more inclined to introversion. But as @mattnewport said in response to me...

> Similar to what some others mentioned, I'm more of an introvert so I find remote work makes me more social if anything as I don't "use up" my social energy being in an office and can instead use it more selectively on interactions that I get more value from.

I think this is key. Offices used to make me feel exhausted. I recall coming home from work and plummeting into a "crash nap" for an hour so that I could salvage my evenings. I worked hard to build my life so that I can move at a much slower pace and take things in a flow that works well for me.

But to your question: is what you are describing par for the course for an introvert working remotely, or are you taking social reclusion too far...

There seems to be two things afoot:

* You have been interviewing for a long while without success.

* You feel lonely and, in a way, depreciating, because of your confined way of being.

As for interviewing... I would agree that actual interviews _are_ practice - the best kind! But I am curious as to the other type of practice that you are doing. Are you working with other people to help you or are you studying textbooks like 'Cracking the Coding Interview'? We all feel a bit weird about recruiters, but there are services that will help you polish your people skills.

As for reclusiveness... It sounds like you might be taking it to an extreme. There are studies that pop-up on HN often about the benefits of social contact towards well-being and longevity. There is also intuitive proof; we feel much better when we have social validation. The inverse is depressing. I empathize. It sounds like you are having a tough time.

I would challenge a limiting belief like introversion. That is not a good reason for making yourself suffer alone. It might be time to write a narrative for yourself where you _are_ into athletic activities, meeting up with strangers, and being open to healthy and fruitful relationships. When you take care of yourself it will shine through in all that you do.


Thanks for sharing this, some good ideas for all of us!


I worked pretty much entirely remotely for 12 years. Remote work was a trade off. I got to live where my wife wanted while working for interesting companies, doing interesting things.

I made friends all around the world but I know relatively few people where I live. I’ve had to go out of my way to have social hobbies in order to meet people. With a family and a remote job (calls to the other side of the world do not happen in 9-5 hours), that wasn’t always possible.

Over all, I’d say my social skills did not suffer but my social life did and my sense of connection to where I live was perhaps less than it might have been otherwise.

Now I have my own business I’ve rented an office in town and am building a co-located team.

There are many benefits to remote work but, after more than a decade of it, I think I’m realistic about its downsides too.


I've got a wife but no kids, and have been working entirely remote for 9 months. The 3 biggest changes I've noticed:

- I have to remind myself to slow down when talking to people. I think this is a result of having to think/talk through issues on my own during the day. Pairing with team members has helped this a bit.

- I had to make a real effort to see my friends more often, loneliness set in heavily despite having a spouse. Picking up a social hobby, rock climbing in my case, has also helped.

- If living in an area without a strong software community, exchanging ideas and "talking shop" goes away. Learning and professional growth is now done entirely remote as well. Try and stay in an area with regular meetups or some sort of interaction with other engineers if you growing as a technical contributor is important to you.

I do get back to the office 3 times a year, but it's definitely changed my normal social patterns. I still strongly prefer full time remote to having to commute even once or twice a week, but I now use that commute time for socializing and hobbies instead. Good trade off for the added bit of loneliness in my opinion, although I'm not sure my answer would be the same if I didn't have my spouse to keep me company.

* I also moved from Chicago to a town of 15k in Upstate NY


> - If living in an area without a strong software community, exchanging ideas and "talking shop" goes away. Learning and professional growth is now done entirely remote as well. Try and stay in an area with regular meetups or some sort of interaction with other engineers if you growing as a technical contributor is important to you.

This is my personal biggest issue. As a freelancer I think I particularly suffer from the lack of connections as well. I'm probably going to sign up for a coworking space soon in order to combat it.


Slightly OT: I noticed from your post history you were considering moving to NH. How did you end up in Upstate NY?

I'm NNY born and raised. I live in a small town of 500 just outside of a small city of 25k. I love it here, but the lack of local resources does make me wonder if I could move to a slightly larger city with a better airport so I can have my cake and eat it too.


Also born and raised in the Saratoga area, and that's where we live now. We moved back here because of family, and my also one of the local colleges has an outdoor education program my wife wanted to enroll in.

Switching from part-time to full-time remote is what allowed us to move here. We found ourselves spending most of our vacation time back this way anyway, so moving back here was a goal a year or two after we moved to Chicago.

If I ever lost this job, the backup plan is Boston while my wife stays with my family and finishes her degree. There's really not many places to work up this way, and none of them are willing to pay large city wages.

That said, we don't intend to settle down here. The risk is too high. Portland, ME is similar culturally with more opportunity. That's on our short list to head out to next.


I am not the demographic you are looking for answers from, but I will note that if you are introverted or socially challenged in some way, being removed from 40+ hours per week of social friction at the office can actually improve your ability to connect socially at times and places when you want that to happen because your internal quota for social stuff was not long ago used up and burned to the ground, making yet one more conversation start with getting on your very last nerve and go downhill from there.


That's exactly how I feel. My "internal quota for social stuff" gets used up by the office so there is nothing left in my free time.


I am introverted as well but I have not been able to get much motivated into getting into group activities with a lot of friends at once, or especially strangers. And never having a SO or a serious relationship in my life, now being age 36 probably is affected by that. I don't live alone right now- I live with my mom for financial hardship reasons- but I usually keep to myself.


I've worked remotely (with a 12-hour time difference!) from a home office for 3.5 years. Initially my wife and daughter were home much of the time, but for the past 1.5 years it's been just me, as my wife is working part-time and my daughter is in childcare.

I wasn't a particularly social person originally, but working alone has made me even more insular, and less inclined to join in social situations. It ended up with me feeling lonely and unhappy. I was considering quitting my contract, although similar work is difficult to find where I'm now living.

So two weeks ago, I started working in a shared workspace, and I will try that for a few months to see if it helps.

My guess is that every person has a different buffer of how long they can do without regular human company during the day, and I'd exausted mine. Having a family helps, but may not replace professional company where you are discussing things about your dayjob.


I've been doing coworking for a few years now and can't recommend it enough! Its the perfect balance of social interaction + freedom IMO.


How old were you when you started remote?


HN generally doesn't like humour - but this resonates with a lot of people who have worked at home :

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/working_home

FWIW I did it for a while and even though I had some social contact at the time it really wasn't enough and I did get a bit weird.


Working remote causes you to trust people based on results not on spec. This can impact your interactions when you expect things like followthrough, consistency, demonstration of commitment, attentiveness to your communications, being on-task, and work quality where these things work a bit differently IRL and you are more prone to be exposed to intermediate work products rather than incremental or final.


When I worked remotely I had a better social life. I don't enjoy a lot of the communications at a typical office and I find them very draining so I don't do much in the evening or over the weekend. While I worked remotely I was alone during the day but I had energy and interest in meeting people in the evening.


I've worked remotely for 3 years, for 3 different companies, with a move to a new city. Remote work has changed me a little bit, but moving to a new city: massive.

With remote work, succinct written communication is critical. Don't overload the reader with content; tends to cause people to go "oh god" and not read what you have to say. With a lot of practice and honest work you'll see improvements.

Moving to a new city, though, took much, much more effort to adjust, and had a greater psychological impact. I moved with a girlfriend, and we bought a house after a few months. Once that all settled down, we realized we didn't really have many local "meatspace" friends. You realize every weekend you can just "do something together" and then you never really build a network. That can feel tremendously isolating, far more then working remotely.

Remote work offers a very compelling option to move, which can offer a wonderful standard of living. I'll definitely stick with remote work. I love it, now that I've really adjusted, and dedicate time to social and professional networking. But without real time spent with others regularly, it would be easy to turn into a hermit, addicted to social networking, for any kind of "personal" connection.


I worked remotely for a year, from home and a couple of coffee shops. It certainly made me a calmer person, and keeping myself away from mundane office conversations (and mundane tasks) refreshed my senses and added to my happiness. I lived alone in a flat in a nice part of London and regularly visited the gym and played tennis, which provided enough social interaction for me, in addition to a few weddings and birthdays dotted throughout the year. I built https://usebx.com during this year, with the help of a couple of contractors, who also worked remotely. I now do have an office, but still work remotely most days, and encourage my employees to do the same. I'll only go into the office if a client wants to visit. The set up works rather well. The one thing I struggled with initially was routine - I could easily code till 5am, and sleep till 2pm, then not be able to get into a good sleep, work or social routine for a week. Now I force myself to finish at a reasonable time so that I can be continually productive over time, not just productive for that one day, while enjoying other aspects of life as well.


I have a great spouse with three wonderful kids. I enjoy alone time but the isolation should be taken very seriously. The days will be reduced to animated emojis and clever gifs. And the days blend together.

Socializing becomes this activity that you have to be proactive for otherwise you’ll find yourself in some dark places asking a therapist how you arrived at this low point.


Also married with three kids. I've worked remotely for years now, and I have a working spouse. I manage to socialize some with other parents because of kid activities, but that's about it! And I only manage that by keeping my work hours to about 30 per week.

If I go for a week or two without client face to face, I can feel my social skills getting more awkward.

I don't feel right now that there is room for improvement, so I'm just floating until life slows down again.


I've been working remotely for 18 months, married with a toddler and 10 year old daughter. I classify myself as an introvert, but vary widely from needing to be outgoing to extremely isolating myself. The previous job I left required me to be at the peak of personal extroversion professionally as a director of engineering. I worked with my team, business dev, and IT. I was also involved with sales calls and on-boarding customers. It pushed my boundaries but it forced me to grow. I started to enjoy being more extroverted.

I went from that position to working remotely for a start-up that had only 3 remote team members. At first I enjoyed the break from interactions with others but still had lots of communication with at least one other remote team member. About a year ago, I was moved to a different team, one with 2 local team members and myself. It has been a real struggle as I have gone days without interacting with team members or anyone besides my wife and son. I do leave the house daily to take my son to day care, but that is the extent of daily interaction outside the home with the exception of the grocery store on the weekends.

Limited social interactions has been and is becoming more of a problem for me working remote. Working in the office I developed friendships existed outside of the office as well. Those relationships are hard to maintain, and the same level of social life no longer exists when working remotely. We've instituted daily standup video calls and it helps a little.

I didn't have a huge social life before but it is now two extremes - either I crave the need to chit chat and interact with others or I withdraw completely from social situations. For example, I try to go to the coffee at least once a week just to be around other people. However, when I travel to the office quarterly, I cannot make it through the week of dinners and other events without leaving early to be alone.

Going days without meaningful technical and social interactions has caused me to be depressed and I've already considered leaving my current employer for a remote team that has more deliberate communication. Overall I'm glad with going 100% remote, but I have to work hard to not completely isolate myself.


I've been working remotely for >6years. I go to office/customer once a month or less.

how has it affected the way you interact with people?

It did affect my interaction with people in general. I'm married and have a baby, but still think I suffered from working from home. Don't get me wrong, it certainly has a lot of pro's:

- Don't need to commute to office

- Don't need to iron my shirts to go to the office

- Save at least 3-4 hours per day because I don't have to travel

- Less likely to be interrupted by a colleague. Unless they call or email you, they don't have a chance to come to you or meet you in the kitchen and interest you to work with them in a new project.

Now to the con's:

- Your communication and interaction with people will go down (unless you invest your free time to be around people)

- Promotion, promotion, promotion. It's difficult to be promoted if you never show up, never had a chance to network with colleagues and managers on a daily basis, never had face to face meetings to see and be seeing.

Has it made some things more difficult to you?

Yes and No. It made me relize that I need to invest more time interacting with people. Both for the sake of myself and for my career. It actually made me a bad husband and father. I'm less likely to talk and became more introvert than I'am. I think if you don't train the communication muscle regurarely, you are bound to become more introvert whether you are single or not. I made the mistake of buying a PS4 and playing games right after finishing work then going to sleep. It took me almost two years to realize that I basically didn't talk to anyone, not even my wife unless there is something to talk about.

Moral of the story, if you don't invest your time in communicating and interacting with people you will become more introvert and used to be not "Interrrupted" even when you are not working.

I sold my PS4 a year ago and started going to meetups and playing soccer. It made a big difference. For my next Job, I will be looking for a desk based job with a few days working from home.


I left a corporate consulting career because I was burned out and started writing iOS apps from home. 5 years later the app business has been very successful for me but it has been the loneliest thing I have ever done. I use co-working environments when I can but generally people keep their head down in these too. I do relish the chance to interact socially with people now and I appreciate how valuable it is these days. This is the main reason I am probably done with apps, I'm looking for a more interactive role now.


I've worked remotely for several years, first where it was common (Red Hat) and now where it's very rare (Facebook).

At a gross level, not much has changed. I interact with people socially about as much as I always did. What has changed is that my social interactions are more conscious and deliberate. Everyone I see, I see voluntarily and occasionally - not day after day after day whether we like it or not, as with coworkers. As a result, I have to focus a bit more on making those times rewarding and repeatable. I watch the ebb and flow of conversation, listening more and even trying to create openings for those who don't seem to be finding their own. I keep a mental list of conversational gambits for when other topics peter out or need to be changed quickly. These are all good skills to have anyway. but they become absolutely critical when you need to keep those outside-of-work relationships humming along.

I also find that I engage in more chit-chat with people I meet more casually. My mail carrier. The folks at the local convenience store. Anyone sitting next to me at a bar or waiting near me in line. I'm an introvert, I can't stand to interact with people too much, but these little exchanges help me stay connected and (perhaps even more importantly) stay in practice for when conversations really matter.

So, oddly, I think working remotely has helped me improve my social skills. As they say, calm seas never made a great sailor. I know some people founder, but for me it has been more of an opportunity to hone some generally useful skills.


I have a wife and kids an a beautiful house out in the redwoods. We both work from home. I put on shoes and leave home weekly. Previously, I lived in a city and worked in a production line.

I'm not sure I had many social skills in the first place, but I've found that I went from wishing everyone would go away to actually asking people to come visit. I miss co-workers, but the most surprising thing I found was that my personal bubble is about a hundred feet around. My previous antisocial nature was less about too many personal interactions than just feeling the pressure of humanity, even if they were just driving by outside the house. Whenever I've been in a big city, I find myself seeking out alleyways or anywhere that doesn't have anyone near it. I'm always surprised that no matter how I seek out the most undesirable corner, there's always someone there. Clearly I'm not the only one who feels this way, but I'm not sure how many come to this realization about large personal space, since for me it took months of isolation to really get it.

I certainly haven't lost the ability to interact positively with others, but without recent shared history, conversations can be hard to maintain unless I find a subject of solid mutual interest.


I often work from coffeshops or other places in order to maintain some level of social interaction, as little as it may be. I suppose when I do go into the office for a meeting, we all sort of speak the same language and have similar personality types so there are no issues socially; I don't have to put up a super social extroverted front to talk physics (I'm a scientist). I don't live with my SO but we video chat frequently, which also helps.


I have more experience working remote than in an office, and I'm deeply introverted, so I may not be the best person to ask.

I wouldn't say that working remotely for long periods has affected mt social skills. However, when I work remote, I socialize much differently than I do when I work in an office.

When I work in an office, all of my 'new kid in town' habits kick in. So I make a point of sitting as close to the kitchen space as possible, listen actively to find instant common ground, and make a point to make eye contact with as many people as possible. So, when I'm in an office, it's easy to have quick 5-10 minute conversations to refill the old social jug and get back to work.

When I work remote, it's harder to form those kinds of bonds with my coworkers. I've made some wonderful friends working remotely, but it's amazing how powerful sitting in a central space, active face-to-face listening and eye contact are, so I don't get to form the same types of relationships. Instead, I have to make a point to go out and do social things. If I don't actively work to refill my social jug, I get intensely lonely.

Of the two, I prefer working remote because honestly, I get the chance to build deeper friendships.


I am remote, and for the last few years did not work in a fixed location. My SO traveled with me and managed us, but had no job.

Because of the way we lived I think my communication skills have gotten better. Each new place we either lived with locals or other expats, or we worked out of pubic places like cafes. During non work hours we regularly went out and interacted with others.

For work I only need to be "in office" during certain 4 hour chunk of the day, the other hours could be worked whenever I chose. Often my schedule would change from day to day. This is bad for keeping regular eating and sleeping schedules. I feel this indirectly affected my social skills at times.

When I am in Asia, that four hour chunk corresponds to when most weekday meetups happen. This limits some of my opportunities to meet new people, and be sociable during the weekdays. On the other hand, I can do random daytime events that most people have to take off for anytime they come up.

I never had an extremely healthy social work life when I did work at the office. It was an office of 1-2 other IT people, and a majority of my work time was spent coding, not socializing. The same is true now, except when we socialize it's via hangouts instead of in person.


I have been working remotely for the past few years. I am single (no SO, children).

I dare say my social life has improved as I am less stressed, get more sleep and above all, I have plenty of energy to go out and meet people in the evening than when I was working in an office.

Furthermore, I never really enjoyed the social aspect of an office, it always made me feel awkward and was more of a chore than anything as I tend to keep those relationships strictly professional.


I've worked from home for ~2 years now. Mostly in Pittsburgh, but for the last 5 months I've been working from rural Vermont. I'm not afraid that my social skills are decaying. Actually, I think they may be improving.

The biggest change I've noticed is that I have more social energy to spend with people I choose. Before, I'd exhaust all of my social energy at the office. For me this is great - I feel richer for having more interaction with people who aren't techies. Small talk isn't about the newest javascript framework or crypto currency. I have to work harder to clearly explain what I'm working on and why it's important and why it's interesting. Good social exercise.

I still spend plenty of time communicating with my co-workers. I feel like I'm less likely to fall into the office group-think now that I have a chance to tune out and think though problems independently. I'm more likely to say what I mean and ask for what I want. I think I speak more clearly now that I need to pump my thoughts through a narrower conduit (email or video chat).


I'm a bit of an outlier (autistic and extrovert). Every attempt at remote work or freelancing so far has been a disaster for me: I could neither build enough structure at home to get consistent results or even consistent working hours, nor put in enough effort to have satisfying amounts and quality of social interactions. The lack of constant swapping of ideas was also a major pain. YMMV.


I worked remotely full time for about 5 years for three different companies.

I am naturally inclined towards introversion, and although I really enjoy other people's company, if left to my own devices I often don't seek out social situations. I think for this reason it was definitely a bit isolating for me, since working in person was a forcing function to get me to socialize a bit.

I eventually found some social interaction at a co-working facility, but in the end I decided to go back to working in an office in person. (That decision was mostly motivated by other factors, but the social factor was not an insignificant motivator.)

With that said, I have also seen people who are better than me at seeking social situations who had no trouble working remotely. They co-worked, joined meetups, worked in coffee shops, etc, and managed to meet new people without any feelings of isolation.

So I guess I'd say: if you can trust yourself to be socially engaged without having to be in the office, it's probably fine. Otherwise, it's also probably fine but may become a bit isolating.


Background: I've worked remotely for 2 1/2 years. Before that, I worked in an office. Before that, I worked in retail. I am married and live with my wife in a 25ft Airstream.

Personally, I find that I am more careful with who I spend time with. I try not to read a lot of news and outside media to in order to focus on doing things I love and work on my craft (Development, photography, and video). I haven't found any changes with my confidence in speaking to others, and the way I look at it, unless you're are a complete recluse, you'll always interact with other people.

My wife and I spend a lot of time in campgrounds and in nature, so I do cherish the time I get to talk to people, even if that time is brief. After being on the road for almost a year, I reconnected with some old friends for a weekend on Albuquerque and had no social issues.


> I try not to read a lot of news and outside media

I work from home and did the same for a long time. When I tried to enter casual conversation with people I noticed I was unable to discuss world events. In addition I was missing important local information, such as road closures or purposed tax increases. I settled on reading the daily paper. It covers everything I need to know, and while it has a bias, it’s much less than what’s on a facebook feed.


I'm probably right in the middle on the introvert/extrovert scale, so it's been mostly nice, but how isolated I'll feel will depend on the org I'm working in. More video with more people? More 1 on 1s with other remote folks? That's been great for me. But when I'm one of the only remote people, and everyone else is in the office, it ain't great.

Remote work has also made me really value the coffee shop as a place to meet friends, meet up with friends, and be around the noise of people being people.

Edit: it's also worth noting that I don't think remote has changed how I'm social. It's just been a different social setting, and I'm happy to say I'm mostly able to adapt to it. It needn't be isolating, and it can open up energy for you to be more social in other parts of your life.


31, married, been working 100% remote with a 100% remote team for 5 years. My wife works outside the home but we took 2 years when she was between jobs to drive around the Western US in an RV (https://therecklesschoice.com).

Overall, I never felt obligated to be social with my co-workers because they never had the same interests I did. I do tech because it pays well and allows me to work remotely, not because it is my calling. So I never really found co-workers to be the ones that I hung out with. I do other things that I enjoy more and that is where I'm social regardless of working remotely or working in an office.

One of the reasons we stopped the RV trip was because it was isolating. We had social groups outside of work and the RV trip ripped us from those groups.


I've worked from home for about eight months now, from my bedroom, with my wife two kids (ages four and two) at home. I've always scored about 50-50 on any test that measures introversion vs. extroversion. I will be the center of attention in social situations, but I don't really seek them out, so work was really the only way I made friends before. So I see my social circle (as it was) dwindling as I work longer from home.

I think the weirdest thing I've noticed is a decline in verbal communication skills. It's much harder to express myself verbally, much easier in writing. My company has only recently started doing video rather than voice-only calls, which has helped. I also try to get people to video chat any time I help them with something instead of trying to handle it over slack.


I'd say it made me more outgoing. If I wasn't, I wouldn't meet anyone! Especially when I was single I got in the habit of starting conversations with people (both men and women).

I also make a habit of going on walks in the neighbourhood. I'd find it harder to be self employed if I lived someplace I couldn't do that. But when I step outside there are parks full of people.

When I first moved out on my own I got terribly lonesome, until I started going to cafes. Talking with the staff at a local cafe is actually a good way to get a small dose of socialization each day.

I found, surprisingly, that I didn't need deep social connection on a daily basis, but I did need some social contact. In other words, for filling that need, a 3 min chat with a barista was as effective as an hour with a close friend.


27 single male, been working remotely for around 3 years. I would say it affected me slightly at first. I realized after leaving my office job that a fair amount of my social interaction was off-the-cuff activities with coworkers. Which I obviously wouldn't be around for anymore.

I basically had to learn to take more initiative when it came to arranging to hang out with people. I did and things have been going great since.

With remote work you definitely have the opportunity to isolate yourself on accident. So you have to been conscious of that and take action when you notice it.

I live alone now. But in the beginning of my remote career I had roommates. Roommates, who are actually your friends, are a great way of avoiding social isolation in the remote setting. And if they all have office jobs, you get the house to yourself all day!


After working from home for a decade (own projects + freelancing), I have now taken on a full time role mainly because I wanted to change the scenario a bit.

My routine was very haphazard while I was working from home. Being an introvert and with a very small circle of friends, I was lagging on social activity - in general a pretty miserable situation.

Now, 15 days in the new routine and I already feel way disciplined as I have to sleep early to get early for the office. Also, staying away from home for 10 hours makes me feel eager to return back to family, and they seem more welcoming too :)

I may not continue this job (office politics, incompetent management) but I will try to find another day job or some sort of activity where I can spend at least 8-10 hours out of home.


I've been working remotely for the last 13 years. Still doing it. Feels like Robinson Crusoe sometimes, but look at it from the positive side: don't have to deal with annoying co-workers (like I used to, long ago)


I find that creating a regime and structure is the only way to be able to work remotely in a sustainable way.

I have work hours and none work hours. I have a work out routine that makes me wake up early in the morning, which in turn makes me sleep at a reasonable time

I give myself lunch breaks that I use to go to the grocery store buy ingredients and cook good food.

I make plans for my after work hours to see friends, attend meetups..etc.

Working in an office setting you are forced into a structure, with working remotely you have to create your own structure.


I worked from home for 2 years in the same situation (single, no dependents). It was actually great for me socially. Commuting can be so draining. Instead of arriving home exhausted at 7 PM, I would be ready to go out right at 5 PM. I'd do laundry and clean up my place during breaks in the day, so I had even more time free in the evenings and weekends.

To take advantage of it, you do have to be super proactive about filling your social calendar in the evenings. But that's true in any situation.


Been a freelancer for 10 years, I got really good at socializing. I think when you are forced to interact with others you develop passive-aggressive patterns, build up stress, machiavellianism and so on. I can also see how people who work fulltime often don't have the energy for anything but alcohol. Meanwhile I do all sorts of things with other high energy people. I am not trained in corporate socialization or other weird stuff. So, I'm great.


Not at all (>6 years). But this is heavily dependent on your personality. You can lead rich social life but be complete recluse at work, 100% focusing on what you do. Or you can work remotely from some exotic place, bumping at new interesting people whenever you walk out of your apartment for trivial stuff like buying food or stretching yourself.

Whenever I feel lonely I can throw a party with a mix of people of various backgrounds as well.


I have been working full time as a freelance developer at ideatostartup.org since last 4 years.

Working remotely has neither affected the way I interact with people nor made anything difficult for me. However, it may be because I live with my family and they have a big social circle.


One year, live with my wife, no, social skills have not declined. I am as charming as ever.


To be honest for me it has impacted it somewhat bad as it pertains to conference. I use to have zero issue of going up to anyone but after four years of working from home there is a hesitate aspect now I have notice.


I talk to my cat in lieu of my coworkers, which provides roughly as stimulating a conversation. Meowing seems to be a less valuable social skill though, so YMMV.


People with "affected" social skills are not likely to be conscious of how their social skills were "affected".


Working remote from a new city. Couldn't have been worse socially.


I've been working remotely for a number of years and it has not affected my social skills at all AFAICT. But that's because I have a very full life outside of work, that involves a lot of social interaction.




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