By January 24, 2011 Read More →

Lonely working from home? Just Skype!

Skype for home workersSo, what response to the question about how extrovert home workers can cope when they can’t go out coworking? Well, one answer came up almost as soon as I’d asked the question!

I use Skype regularly for conference calls with my fellow BIG Jelly (more of which soon) organisers Jan and Fay, and without it I doubt I could be part of the planning at such a distance from the action. But I had never considered the idea of Skyping in a more social way and it came about quite by chance.

I tweeted Helen Lindop of to ask when it would be convenient to ring her and she immediately tweeted back ‘Children are asleep. Skype me now!’ So I did, and we had a good chat about working from home, writing and publishing, juggling family commitments and so forth. All very easy and totally free! Weird how sometimes we pigeonhole things as for work or outside work and don’t see how they can be adapted. So that’s one tip for you, Fiona, unless you’re way ahead of me and are onto it already!

(And by the way, Helen’s book, one of the topics we discussed, was co-written with Antonia Chitty and published in September – Start A Family Friendly Business: 129 Brilliant Business Ideas for Mums).

Posted in: Isolation

17 Comments on "Lonely working from home? Just Skype!"

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  1. Thanks for that! I did have a regular Skype pal for exactly that reason but we had real problems with feedback interrupting the call. As I seemed to find this happening on other Skype calls too, I ended up giving it up. However, I should give it another go and/or use the phone – especially as I persuaded O2 to give me an extra 200 mins per month for no extra cost 🙂 I just need to buddy up with peole now who’d be happy to chat to reduce their isolation too!

  2. judy says:

    My pleasure! It was a genuine discovery for me – I love it when the penny drops like that! Anyone like to be a chat buddy?

  3. Lisa Kanarek says:

    Not having to pay for calls is one of the best features of Skype.Last summer when I was in Costa Rica, I stayed in touch with clients for free. Otherwise, my cost per call would have been outrageous. There’s something about being able to talk “face-to-face” that makes conference calls more effective. I’m definitely a Skype addict!

    • judy says:

      I’m a convert! My first experiments with Skype weren’t very successful and I kept losing sound etc, but now the technology seems more robust.
      One of the best things is not having to have a phone line next to your computer. Plus, if your partner also works from home, like mine, you’re not hogging the phone line. I think I’m hooked too, Lisa!

  4. Helen says:

    Thanks for the mention Judy! I really love Twitter and Skype in combination as per last week e.g. “Can I call you?” “Great, do you Skype?” “Yes, how about right now?!”. It’s much better than a phone call for me as I work weird hours around my young children and people can find out if I’m available before they call me. (I know it would only work for very specific types of business, though – in fact I’ve chosen my business model because it isn’t practical for me to be available on the phone during normal office hours.)

    I think that social media has blurred the business and personal sides of our lives and that means you can have more informal connections like this. Perhaps this throws up questions around boundaries sometimes? Personally I haven’t had a problem but I’ve seen people write way-too-personal things on their business blogs. Or worse, they’re not clear on whether their blog is personal or for business.

    • judy says:

      Yes, it suits me perfectly, and I’m sure many other home workers. This personal/business thing is interesting and I’ve heard people say that due to social media our old ideas of privacy are just quaint relics of the past.
      I think we do like to feel we know something about the real person behind the business facade, but I’ve also read things that have made me cringe about very personal aspects of people’s lives.

  5. Nicky Kriel says:

    I keep on getting interrupted on Skype! Mainly though: from my sister who’s baby daughter wants to talk to me (they live in South Africa), my daughter at Chester University and my boyfriend! Although it is a lovely way to talk business. I will be using Skype to record podcast for my blog, are you interested in being interviewed Judy?

  6. judy says:

    Is that because they can see when you’re online? I only tend to switch on when I’m going to use it – too many distractions already!

    I’d love to be interviewed – is this an extension of vlogging? I must do more of that, I was disrupted by the bad weather and consequent low spirits!

  7. Nicky Kriel says:

    I am going to run a weekly “How social media has helped my business” blog where I am going to interview people either over skype or if they are close enough, video. Thought it would be good to have real people showing real examples of what has worked for them. Already have a few people lined up!

  8. judy says:

    Yes, I saw you mentioned it on your blog. Sounds good, Nicky. I’d better get back to vlogging so I’m camera-ready!

  9. Skype isn’t just for phone calls! I am a member of VASG and we have an IM group (or 2 or 3) on Skype, so no matter what time during the working day there is normally someone on there to have a chat with (watercooler room) or ask business related questions of (biz room). It means that no matter how isolated we are in the real world we have the instant response on Skype and have made some great friends this way.

    As the watercooler room doesn’t close we can chat into the evening and over the weekend as well.

    It’s also a fantastic way to share knowledge and resources as well as support.

    • judy says:

      Hi Helen and welcome! What an excellent resource and back-up for you lucky VAs. I know someone who is just setting up so I’ll tell her about VASG.

      I see your contact number is the York code – one of my favourite UK cities!

  10. Sharon says:

    I have had skype for a while to call parents when they are in USA but never trusted the tech, always seemed to drop at the worst moment. Now I have a new PC and skype is a bit more advanced I may pick it up again – just got a new headset too (daughter nicked last one). Only trouble is that I set it up as a personal account so it’s not under ‘baywebdesigns’. Still, you can find me through my real name 🙂

    • judy says:

      With everything crossed I am saying with great trepidation that the technology has been fine for me so far!
      Occasionally I decide to switch off the video as the connection (is that the right term?) is a bit dodgy, but I haven’t been thrown off yet. And sometimes I choose not to have the video on because I’m in no fit state to be seen 🙂
      One day A and I must Skype you, Sharon, and say hello to your beautiful cat too.