27 Jul How to expand your professional network when you work from home
An increasing number of people are forgoing lengthy commutes in favour of working from home. With technology serving as a vital catalyst in the evolution of the work environment, working remotely has taken on a life of its own. Moreover, it has given networking a new lease on life, making it easier to get social with clients and colleagues alike.
Here’s how you can take your networking game to the next level:
1. LinkedIn Groups
The easiest and best way to network, especially if you’re a small business entrepreneur, is to leverage LinkedIn. You can join trade related groups for business articles, career tips, and most importantly, to interact with people from your domain.
You’ll find groups to discuss both your professional and personal interests. You can always engage people by asking questions
or even answering some in these groups. You never know who you might meet here and the opportunities they may have for you.
2. Connecting with your Alumni
Some of the best relationships you forge are during your school and college days. You might be reluctant to connect with your alumni after all these years, considering everyone went their separate ways after graduating, but that’s precisely why you should reconnect with them!
Apart from professional groups, you should join groups of your alma mater to connect with these individuals. Exchange contact information and interact with them on a regular basis. You never know when these old contacts may lead to a lucrative opportunity for you.
3. Co-working Spaces
With the rapid rise of work from home opportunities, co-working spaces have also become increasingly popular. Replete with all the office equipment you might need, they are a great place for small business owners to network with the right people who can take your business places.
From coffee shops and libraries to dedicated work spaces, these are hubs for people with similar work opportunities. They’re also a great place to get a change of work environment, if you ever need some inspiration. Typically, they require a small membership fee or rent, but with the networking opportunities they present, the investment is worth it!
4. Conferences and Events
Amongst the key benefits of the flexible hours you keep as a remote worker is the fact that you can easily attend conferences and events related to your industry. Apart from the knowledge you’ll gain from the event itself, it’s a great place to meet other professionals from your industry. Interact with them, exchange business cards, and stay in touch with them after it concludes. There’s no better place to meet people relevant to your niche than a conference.
5. Choose Phone Calls and Skype
This point is more of a sound networking tip than a way for you to meet like-minded people. Given that you’re working from home, most of your conversations probably happen over emails or messaging apps. And while these are a good way to communicate forsome purposes, certain conversations are best had over a phone call, or better still, over Skype, since with the video camera on, it is almost like having a face-to-face conversation.
Good networking skills are a prerequisite for a prosperous and lucrative career. It is a skill you must master to climb the ladder of success, irrespective of whether you are working remotely or in a traditional office setting.