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Working from Home and Phatic Communication

by Simon Ouderkirk

Article | HN

Conversation for the purpose of conversation is something we lose working remotely.


  • phatic conversation: when the purpose is just to talk
  • "working remotely has helped me understand traditional work places much better"
  • also non-verbals - nods, waves
  • off-topic conversation after meetings can have real value
  • in an office, phatic conversations just happen, but remote workers have to intentionally seek them out
  • he schedules coffee / lunch over video conferences with other remote workers
  • remote work can become too structured -- it's a way to reintroduce serendipity