Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

January 22, 2023

Working remotely doesn’t leads to lonely people no matter what folks on Twitter say

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 1:11 AM

“100% remote work combined with a no meeting culture is going to create a large group of lonely, isolated workers”Alex Cohen posted this on Twitter a little while ago. Apparently the only way to ward off loneliness is to work in an office and attend meetings since having friends and spending time with them is obviously so last millennium.

I am someone who tends to be a little on the workoholic side if I am not careful. I have spent all weekend in office multiple times and one of my managers frequently used to message me asking me why I was still online at 3am and logged into office systems. That being said, there is more to life than work. In one of our Townhalls in a previous organization, someone asked the CEO a question “What are you doing to ensure employees have a proper work-life balance” and he responded (and I am paraphrasing since this was a while ago) “It is not my or the company’s responsibility to ensure you have a proper work-life balance. Only you know what balance would work for you and you need to tell us when you have enough work and need to stop for a break. If you allow/want we can give you work 24 hours a day 7 days a week because we have enough things to do. You need to be the one to decide what work-life balance means for you and then let us know. Then we will ensure that you get to follow that.” This stuck with me since I heard it and I quote it often with my reportees when we talk about Work-life balance.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t make friends at work or people objecting to the statement don’t enjoy working with others on a project. However, if you make your work the defining factor in your life, you are going to burn out. (Telling from experience) It is good to step away from work to do something else as that will rejuvenate you and might even give you a new perspective. For me I read books, go hiking and travel to get a break from work. You will not believe how many of my project ideas and fixes for issues I was facing were conceptualized while I was slogging away on a hilltop or driving to a new location for a trip.

Someone once told me that it is ok to love your job but don’t expect that love to be always returned. One recent example is the Microsoft Engineer who spent 21 years with MS as a great performer but was still fired earlier this week with little notice. There are multiple such stories and I could fill books with various similar examples.

I have been working remotely since 2020 and it does get tiring as I can’t meet folks face to face for discussions and I do miss the coffee breaks and the random discussions. However, once I log off from work I spend time with family, I go out with friends, I watch movies and do other things and guess what I am happy. Work is one aspect of my life and while it is an important part it doesn’t necessarily define who I am as a person.

When I was a kid I complained to my dad that I was bored and he responded that the fact that you are bored is your problem, you need to figure out how to keep yourself entertained because it is not the job of others around you to keep you entertained. So after that me and my sister would come up with things to keep us busy and entertained. The same concept applies to feeling lonely, it is not the job of others in your life to keep you from feeling lonely (they will obviously be there for you) but rather you need to reach out to them and make connections and do things that would keep you entertained & connected.

What do you think?

– Suramya

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