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I’ve been working remotely for my entire professional career, and while I’ve only met my coworkers from my company in person once, I’ve had tons of work from home coworkers.
It started right after I graduated while I worked upstairs from my dad, listening to him present on company calls. Now, sometimes it’s my boyfriend and big career conversations over dinner; other times, it’s my roommates and our daily debrief on our communal coffee breaks.
I’ve never suffered from work from home loneliness. That’s because I’m lucky to work next to people who don’t work with me at all — at different companies, in different positions, levels and industries. We may have different working styles or even different hours, but we have a shared living and working space, and within that, we have created a new version of coworking.
Curating new coworking spaces in the new work landscape isn’t unique to Gen Z, although the trend is especially prevalent among young adults who don’t live with their family unit. TikToker Elli Rallo, @thejarr on TikTok, who has garnered TikTok fame for her rules for life, emphasizes the importance of coworking in her “work from home” rules.
“I don’t know what your prerogative is, but it’s so helpful to have someone on the same page as you,” she explains. “We do this all the time in my apartment. We always have like five people over, crammed into our tiny space, coworking, and it’s really fun.”
When we cowork remotely, working from home changes our relationship with the people around us. There are the people in long-distance relationships who reunited to work from home together, and there are parents working from home who are finally eating family dinners. But there are also the couples who found living and working from home together wasn’t going to work out, or people with roommates who distract and impede on their productivity.
In the best coworking situations, remote coworking is a way to bond with the people you’re working with, even if you’re not interacting with them your entire workday. In her New York Times piece “Let’s Ignore Each Other in the Same Room,” Sophie Vershbow writes that parallel play — which “usually refers to young children playing independently alongside one another” — can also be a beneficial way for adults to spend time with one another. There’s comfort in knowing someone else is there, going through their own work life, even if you two are just typing away on your own computers, not speaking.
It’s also a great way to learn about other industries, companies and roles within the comfort of your own (or your coworking partner’s) home. While working alongside my roommates, I’ve learned about entry-level roles in very different sectors. I understand different expectations managers have, or even how much or little they have meetings with their colleagues. It’s like living in a career fair, where I can get a glimpse into different working worlds without leaving my desk.
And at the very least, coworking is a way to ward off the work from home loneliness. When my roommates go into the office every once in a while, I find myself more shut in, forcing myself to go out for breaks or get some fresh air. Working with others from home means having more people to bounce ideas off of and non-work-related social lunch breaks. It means my work not only gets better, but my working experience also gets a little more fun.
This article does not reflect the views of Fairygodboss.