Throughout the pandemic, many businesses have successfully adapted to the remote work lifestyle, and some (if not most) will continue to be office-free for years to come. While many workers love the concept, as it allows for more flexibility and less time commuting, others have found the shift difficult to adapt to—especially mothers.
As a career coach and mom myself, I know that for many parents, going to the workplace was once the opportunity to get out of the house and socialize with others. Let’s face it, for moms, these child-free moments don’t happen often outside of the 9-5, so while it may seem like a privilege to work from home, it can also very much be viewed as a social loss when it comes to making and deepening the connections necessary for growth.
Luckily, there are solutions. Recently, I’ve been speaking to clients and other moms about the challenges that working from home has brought to networking. How do you make connections when you’re not in the same physical space? One word: online. If the past year and a half have taught us anything, it’s that the world is at our fingertips on the internet, and the ability to foster relationships is no exception.
Not sure where to start? Here are my top four tips for networking and creating relationships online while working from home.
1. Join a professional online community
I can’t stress enough the benefits of this! I am a proud member of HeyMama, a professional online community that brings together working mothers and entrepreneurs in order to provide each other with support, connection, and collaboration at every stage of life and career.
This platform has given me the opportunity to make so many amazing connections and continues to do so every week! I love their professional Slack channel, group emails, and other features that make me feel like I am part of an online girl gang for badass mamas! Check out their full list of services and perks that they offer, including online events—which leads me to my next tip!
2. Attend online events and webinars
There are so many amazing online events, both free and paid, on platforms like HeyMama and Mysha. This is not only a great opportunity to learn some valuable new skills that are relevant to your industry but also to meet like-minded women. Chances are, by attending the same online event, you will meet several women who share similar interests and connect right away. Some of my favorite online events are with the Female Founders Club, which hosts brunches full of women who really get you and your business (and will make you feel great about it too).
Create & Cultivate is also a fantastic place to network and learn more about your industry. They offer membership and tons of events online and IRL! A digital membership includes 50+ hours of keynotes and panels, ticket discounts, digital mentor sessions, and so much more! Membership is only $95 for the year and so worth it in my opinion.
“The League” by Entreprenista is also a great place to hang out! The Entreprenista League is a community of highly successful and motivated women founders and leaders who want to build their reputation and make the most of their success. A membership will also get you office hours with their two very connected and highly motivating CEOs.
3. Be active on social media
Engage, engage, engage! Social media was made for building connections online, so this one might seem obvious, but consider this a reminder to embrace all of the free platforms available to us. Try going beyond commenting on posts and join some of your favorite accounts’ IG Lives so you can engage with others in the comments! Join the conversation, as they say.
Some other great social media socializing platforms are Facebook Groups like Mom Life and Mamas On a Mission. Clubhouse is also a great spot to network. I would highly recommend The Motherhood Collective to connect with other professional mothers.
4. Try virtual coworking or remote coworking
We’ve all heard of coworking spaces like WeWork and WerkLab, but I’ve found that many people have never heard of virtual ones! Virtual coworking is just like a physical coworking space, but it gives you the freedom to experience the benefits from the comfort of your own home and at a time of your choice. You can check out a comprehensive list of some of the best ones from around the world here.
If you’re ready to get back into the world post-pandemic but are unsure of where to start, I highly recommend Bumowork, Big and Tiny, The Jane Club, and The Wing. The best part? You can work and meet other mamas while your child plays! Yep, you read that right. These spaces all have kids’ rooms where your littles can run around and play. No need for child care!
Overall, there are plenty of perks to online networking, from learning opportunities to relationship building with people around the world. Once you get the hang of it, you might even prefer it over in-person networking. Sure, nothing beats physical human interaction, but being able to make friends with people from the comfort of your own home ain’t so bad either.