Guest Post: Working Remotely as an Extrovert

Published: September 10, 2020


By Tyler Enfinger
Activation Associate, Chegg


The abrupt transition to remote work due to COVID-19 was jarring for everyone, but after a few weeks, I realized that there was a certain subset of people who found it especially difficult. Selfishly, I’ll admit that the only reason I recognized that this group of people were having extra trouble was because I was one of them. As you’ve probably deduced from the title of the article, I’m talking about extroverts. 

An extrovert is defined by as “having a disposition that is energized through social engagement and languishes or chafes in solitude, resulting in a personality that is gregarious, outgoing, and sociable.” In our case, the important part of that definition is the “languishing in solitude” part. Unfortunately, it can be really easy for remote work to be and feel solitary. I know it does for me, so I wanted to talk about some of the specific problems I’ve run into and how I’ve combated them.


Lack of face-to-face interaction

As an extrovert, this problem was and is one of the biggest struggles about remote work for me. I’m one of those weirdos who loves the mindless chatter about your drive to work in the morning as we sit and have coffee. And as a remote employee, there is very little of that. Almost all social interaction is based around meetings, which are generally very itinerary-driven and don’t allow for a lot of small talk. If that sounds like heaven for you, that’s great! But there are also a lot of us that crave a little more than that in our work lives. 

Luckily for me, my company’s meetings are not too intense. It is fairly standard to spend the first few minutes catching up with some of the other attendees. This is really nice and helps me feel like I’m still part of the company even though I’m hundreds of miles away and haven’t seen anyone in person for 6+ months. As a result, I would recommend building a few extra minutes (nothing excessive) into your meetings, so that you’re not reminded of what it feels like when you’re cramming before an exam. That extra few minutes of your time is definitely worth it in terms of benefiting the mental health of you and your team. 

Another outlet that I use is the work-provided instant messenger. Most companies provide some form of IM that allows employees to contact each other, and it’s something you should take advantage of in a remote position. It is such a good communication medium for casual conversation or even for work convos that don’t require the formality of an email. That being said, you should definitely know your audience. Don’t send your manager IMs every few hours asking, “Yoooo wassup.” But your buddy over in accounting should be fair game. I personally love to take advantage of the .gif-sending functions, too, so I always make sure to send a fun .gif with my messages. It adds some excitement to my message recipient’s day and breaks up the monotony.  


Difficulty getting involved

As an extrovert, I typically used my daily office chatter to learn more about projects going on throughout the company. I’d follow this by offering to help out however I could (if I thought I could add value somehow). By offering to help out with all these different projects, I was able to participate in a multitude of projects that are outside of my normal scope of work. Those projects really helped to break up my daily responsibilities. Without that same ability to pick people’s brains about their projects, I lost the ability to get involved and felt myself falling more and more out of touch with what was going on at the company.

To try and stay involved (and included) with everything going on, I made it more of a point to pay attention during weekly update meetings and other meetings that we typically gloss over if we’re not the center of attention. Now, I use these meetings as my time to learn about the goings-on of other teams. Afterwards, I’ll reach out via IM if there is a project that I am interested in. Using this strategy, I’ve been able to recreate the type of conversations I was missing and rebuild some of the connections that I had in the office. 

Circumstances affect everyone differently, so it’s important to note that these were just some ways that I felt like I was being impacted by remote working. I hope that these tips can help any of you extroverts that feel the same way I did.