Welcome to a new series of blog post where I'll share at random, tips and tricks that I've gathered over the last 10 years as a remote worker. I have work for 1 company on different subject and in two countries , as I've moved from one to another while working remotely. I have managed to work being single, married without kids and married with kids. Advice that I'll be giving here are mostly from the employee's perspective, I'll also try to give a few hints about how to manage remotees. Disclaimer I have not read "Distributed Teams: The Art and Practice of Working Together While Physically Apart" from my ex-coworker.
So let's start by the obvious first tip : don't stay alone. When I started working remote I had a girlfriend so I was quite occupied, when I wasn't working and when I was. But I was working from home, so Id' miss chitchatting with colleagues over a coffee. But I was coming out of a startup that was using skype as it's main chat tool and there was/(still is) an alumni chat session. So when I had a question or when I wanted to rant or think about something else or just have a pause I would chat with my ex-colleagues. After a few month I broke up with the woman I was with. And was left with almost not physical interaction with humans. The only thing close to it was me going to a swimming pool once a week and seeing people - but hardly interacting with them.After a month or two of that regime I started looking for a new job - a non remote one. Thankfully the 1,5h train ride killed the idea, while I made local friends using the meetup service (I was a Frenchman living in The Nederlands - Met Other people like me , we ended up having a weekly get together - which ended up in me meeting my wife). I also had an ex-coworker not living far from me that was also working on his own venture. We ended up having weekly lunches at the same restaurant were we could both bitch at life work and food :-p.
When I moved back to my own country, it took my ISP two weeks to provide me with Internet access. In the meanwhile I needed access so I ended up going to the local co-working space. This was nice as I could interact with people in the same situation as mine (except that most of them were freelancers). They didn't have the same job nor background, so I had real nice tea chats. In the end I stop using the co-working facilities as I had plenty of meeting and I'm kind of a loud person - so I didn't fit much there and was more an annoyance than anything. But it was really a good solution to fight loneliness or the lack of human interaction (work related I mean).
Finally I moved to a less populated area - were co-working didn't exist and was no option. Lunch with friend was not an option either. The only thing that kept me connected to work/ the rest of the world was IRC conversations with locals (a bit more locals , but I really mean French people here). The other thing that help was my involvement in local things like the kindergarten/ the library and so forth. This let me talk to people about work issue , even if they didn't understand everything venting helped a lot.