How to Network While Working from Home
Figuring out how to network while working from home can feel impossible at times, especially if you're used to in-person networking or at least meeting in a common office space. How do you maintain a professional image without tech support or worse, household chaos happening in the background?
The good news is, people are far less concerned with home interruptions and having an unpolished workspace is accepted in most industries. These days, networking from your home office has never been easier and as the world continues shifting to remote work, it's only going to become more common.
3 ways to network while working from home
Networking is as much about building genuine connections and supporting colleagues within your industry as it is promoting your business and developing new opportunities. Here are three practical ways to network virtually as a remote worker.
Attend online events
While some networking events have gone back to gathering in-person, platforms such as Eventbrite, LinkedIn Events, Zoom, and Facebook offer a wide variety of online gathering places to participate in industry events, professional development, conferences, and more from the comfort of your home.
Being an active participant in the virtual event will help you stand out and makes it easier for others to speak up as well. After the event, make a point to follow up with new connections to continue the conversation.
Online job fairs can be a great networking opportunity. These events are built around the concept of networking, and can be a creative way to get in front of people you wouldn't normally socialize with. Even if you're not job hunting outright, it may be worth polishing up your elevator pitch and putting yourself out there. You never know who you'll meet!
Join virtual communities
Platforms like Reddit, Slack, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Discord offer a variety of opportunities for networking with other industry professionals within their group features. While every community is different, there are many that act as a resource for small business owners and entrepreneurs to connect, ask questions, and share opportunities.
To find relevant communities, ask colleagues for recommendations or search within the platform using keywords. When joining a community, take a moment to read the group rules and do your best to add value while you're there.
Try coworking online
There are virtual coworking spaces created specifically for work-from-home entrepreneurs that aim to provide a sense of community without the drain of constant interruptions or having to be physically in the same location. Coworking can be a fun way to meet new people, collaborate with colleagues, and network with potential clients.
Every coworking space operates differently, so take time to orient yourself and become acquainted with the community guidelines and expectations before getting too comfortable.
Incorporating virtual networking strategies such as these into your work-from-home routine can help expand your network, grow your business, and ward off loneliness. Why not give it a try?