I've been in my current role 9ish months now. I used to sit one cubicle-row over from everyone else and so would still get looped in on random conversations, mostly usually ones that went waaay too into detail about sports for me to do anything but smile and nod. Then we got new team members and they were placed further down in the section. Gradually, through attrition, we lost some of the workers right on the other side of me, and the remaining few moved to be closer to the new teammates (there were 3 all placed together, and they were new, much more interesting than me). My managers have tried to move me "back to the hive" twice, gently suggesting that "wouldn't I prefer it there?"
Each time I've managed to drum up a scurrilous excuse as to why I have to stay in my Sequester Zone. What amazes me is that my managers believe me, but then again that's the kind of disconnect you get when you work 200 or so miles apart. It's awesome.
While I revel in my peace and silence, I did come to realize that I was running a serious risk of seeming very unfriendly to everyone else on my team. I have now consciously and deliberately started to initiate and participate in (though not prolong, haha - never prolong!) usually one or two 'small talk' type conversations a day. Sometimes it is more. And sometimes all my one coworker can talk about is how he once lived in Australia and everything is better there, and sometimes my other coworker always reacts to my workload (when I tell her) with a grimace that just makes me feel worse about the heap I have to get through, and sometimes the latter also drags on conversations awkwardly for like, an extra 20 minutes that i could be working and I sit there and try to figure out how long it will take her to realize that I am kind-of working while she nods and mmhmms besides me and no I don't have anything more to fucking say. (Most of the time she's really nice though. The problem is that usually 'nice' is her most positive trait, and that usually results in personalities I find a little bland.)
However, these interactions are worth it. Not even for "networking" but they really increase my investment in my job and make me feel happier about being there in general.
The easiest job I ever quit I had worked for 2 years remote full time. I didn't feel a twinge of anything leaving that gig. While I love isolation and silence though, especially if I'm going head down on some serious work, the fact is that long term, going to a place every day where you have no attachments is wearing. Sure it might take a little deliberate effort to socialize, and sure sometimes they are annoying, but I do believe my decision to talk more and reach out and respond positively when someone bids for my attention at work is on the whole (I can't believe I'm going to type this) for the best, for me, and maybe my team, too. Yup. i confess. Small talk and bullshitting with people I'd probably never know and don't know if I'd like outside of work has still managed to prove beneficial.
I can't say my health suffered when I was willingly, happily, deliberately alone in my Cubicle of Solitude necessarily, but I imagine when it's your choice it may be different than when incivilities are inflicted upon one? Of course, my solitude is not quite the same as the overt rudeness in this article, but in the business world I think would absolutely be considered "uncivil." I have had coworkers decide others are unfriendly because they do not routinely say "hello" when they pass in the hall, or they don't say "bye" when they are leaving at night. (I don't say bye mostly.) People are funny weird and sensitive.