While big companies go on debating work from home, remote work or telecommuting, small town businesses continue making the best of technology to get work done regardless of location.
Barry Moltz said we are more productive alone, but more innovative together.* The productivity part comes from being able to focus on work without co-workers interrupting. The innovation part comes from unplanned meetings, the serendipity of working in the same location with many other people. (So people are both the upside and the downside.)
The implication is that being relatively isolated in a small town might actually be good for our productivity. But what can we do about our innovation?
Ways to interact more, no matter where you work
1. Find a co-working group or make one.
Even small towns can support simple co-working groups. Just take your laptops to a local eatery or the library and spend Friday afternoons together. Even 2 or 3 people together can make your week more interactive.
2. Attend in-person events in town.
Join the chamber of commerce. Invite friends for networking. Become part of a group. Attend all kinds of performances and events locally just to get out of the house.
3. Interact online.
For me, Twitter is my company water cooler. I can connect and interact with a wide range of people on any number of topics. Just today, I got into a conversation with a jewelry retailer about how watch sales are actually increasing, not decreasing like you’d think. What will I do with that info? Who knows! But it was an interesting exchange, and it’s good for my thinking.
4. Include time for social chat in online meetings.
If you work with other people online and have regular online meetings, leave time for informal talk. Even though you can’t replace being together in person, it helps to plan for the social element.
Add your ideas in the comments.
*I’m just sure it was Barry who said that, but now I can’t remember where I saw it.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.