We’ve all experienced FOMO from time to time. If you’re unsure what it means, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) defined in common culture as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent...FOMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, a profitable investment, or other satisfying events.”
In the business world, this feeling can be associated with an entirely different set of circumstances, all surrounding part-time and remote work professionals and their inclusion in the office. As a part-time employee or remote worker, you complete the exact same work as your fellow peers and do so in the exact same amount of time. You are assigned to the same projects, given the same daily tasks, and even partner up with many of them on daily work. However, when you come into the office or attend a business meeting via a phone call, you are notice a series of inside jokes, information you never were told (but is common knowledge for them), and a feeling of exclusion that you can’t seem to shake.
Fortunately, by understanding what causes these feelings and determining how to avoid them, you can take this telecommute-based anxiety and transform it into an opportunity for growth within yourself and the company alike.
What Causes FOMO?
The main cause of this fear of missing out can be derived from our innermost desire to feel connected as a society. Although this desire for connection has been prevalent since the dawn of humanity, social media has only further perpetuated FOMO in our everyday lives. Take this quote by Psyche Central, for example:
“Teens and adults text while driving, because the possibility of a social connection is more important than their own lives (and the lives of others). They interrupt one call to take another, even when they don’t know who’s on the other line (but to be honest, we’ve been doing this for years before caller ID). They check their Twitter stream while on a date because something more interesting or entertaining just might be happening.”
However, the perplexing application of business meeting FOMO, in particular, goes beyond traditional social media and cell phones and into actual human interaction with one another. As a business professional that is part-time or entirely remote, this inability to be invested in conversations, events, and teamwork opportunities found solely within the office space is what perpetuates this social anxiety and fear of missing out entirely.
Although you may be called in most cases of business meetings, there are times when your team completely forgets to call you altogether and shares pertinent information about the project with one another that you would have benefited greatly from knowing. Similarly, being unable to see the social cues in person for input into the conversation can often make it difficult for you to feel included or to feel as though you are providing your own take on the project or brainstorming session. Both of these situations can be extremely frustrating for a remote or part-time professional and can function as the crux for their business-related FOMO.
How to Avoid Business Meeting FOMO in the Future
Now that you are aware of what causes this social anxiety-based fear of missing out, it is time to figure out what actions you can take to avoid these feelings in the future. The best first step for a business professional that is often feeling the effects of FOMO is to accept that they feel this way.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Admitting and accepting that you have anxiety can feel like your secret has been unleashed to the universe and the burden is off your shoulders. You’re acknowledging the insecurity, and with that recognition you can now tackle the problem.”
With acceptance comes recovery. By being able to admit your fears, you are becoming more comfortable with your insecurity in your remote setting and becoming capable of determining ways to counteract this in a positive manner.
Once this step is complete, the next step to avoiding business meeting FOMO in the future is to discover the advantages of working from home again. When you began this position, you accepted part-time or remote work. You were happy to complete tasks at home in your home office. The question is, why?
What attracted you to this position and the ability to work outside the office? Whether it was the flexibility, being able to spend more time with your loved ones, or simply being able to steer clear of office drama, you once enjoyed – maybe even preferred – this telecommuting opportunity. Yet now, you feel frustrated by not being able to be involved in the ways you could have been involved by simply choosing an in-house position.
It’s OK to acknowledge the downsides of remote or part-time remote work, but the best way to avoid this fear of missing out is to reestablish what you love most about working from home and working for your company.
Lastly, to fully rid yourself of these feelings, you will need to find new ways to include yourself positively in the business. A good start to this is by offering to come in specifically for meetings or to host meetings yourself. In doing this, you can showcase that you want to be involved in the business more than simply a voice on a phone call and also make your presence in relation to these meetings better known.
If this is not possible due to being in another state, country, or even just a few hours away, you can simply ask to be included in the meetings through video chat, rather than a conference call. Being able to see your fellow peers and having them see you in return makes your presence far more solidified and lets you connect further with your team.
Now that you know the causes FOMO tendencies and have a plan to counteract them, it is time for you to begin a new chapter with your business that is full of fruitful conversations and remote-inclusive business meetings alike.