Working from home can be lonely, especially if you’re living alone and working from home. You may have entire days, or even weeks where you don’t see another soul!
Even though I have a husband and two kids who return home at the end of each working day, I can still start to feel pretty isolated working from home.
Don’t get me wrong – I do love working from home! I like being my own boss and setting my own schedule. I’m self-motivated and work well by myself. There are no work politics or irritating colleagues. But, at the same time, it can become very isolating.
Because I have no colleagues, I can go days without any other interaction except for with my kids and husband. It can lead to a feeling of separation from society and can even affect mental health.
How to prevent feeling lonely when working from home
So how do you stop isolation when working from home? That is something I am going to explore in this blog post. Here are several tips to help stop the feeling of isolation when working alone from home every day.
Personalise your home office with photos
Make sure you create a healthy home office workspace which includes happy photos of your family and friends. Having pictures of those you love the most, and of great memories to glance at when you look up from your computer, can be a simple but effective solution to feel connected to others.
Phone a client or friend
Simply speaking to another human being can be enough to raise our spirits. Why not call your client if appropriate to discuss business rather than automatically sending an email? If your work is purely online then call a friend or family member when you next have a break. My husband has always left the house before I’m up so I usually call him after the school run for a quick catch up. Speaking to someone, if only for five minutes each day, can help to stop feeling so isolated.
Find local coworking spaces
As more people than ever are able to work remotely, there are coworking office spaces, hot desks, and office meeting pods available to rent on flexible terms in most major cities and towns. Whilst some let you rent space on a more permanent basis, others allow you to simply turn up on the day on a first-come-first-served basis or rent by the hour.
Add some noise
Working in silence and in solitary all day every day probably will make you stir crazy! Whilst it’s sometimes necessary to work in complete silence to complete important high-concentration tasks, turn on the TV, music or radio for some background noise when completing those that require less of your attention, or even when you stop to eat lunch.
Use social media
Used for a limited amount of time each day, social media can be a great way to connect with people all over the world and to keep up-to-date with world events and trends. Just make sure you use it productively and not to procrastinate!
Local networking events
There are lots of local networking groups for small businesses, freelancers, business owners and those who work at home. Many run local events and meetups where you can interact with others in similar situations to bounce ideas off one another, make friends or listen to motivational speakers.
Online networking events
If face-to-face networking events make you anxious, like they do me, then search for relevant online networking opportunities. Some social media networks, like Twitter, have dedicated networking hours for small businesses, bloggers, home workers, local businesses and so on. Find a relevant networking hour for your location or niche and chat to other like-minded folk. It’s a great marketing tool as well as a way to interact with others each day.
Leave the house
Being stuck indoors by yourself all day will make you feel isolated. Get outdoors, get some fresh air and say hi to your neighbours. If you’re stacked with work and short on time then walk round the block. If you have more time then join a local gym and make a gym session a regular part of your daily routine. Sometimes just seeing other people, even if they’re not people you interact with, can be enough to still feel a part of society when you work alone all day!
Get a pet
If you don’t like being by yourself then getting a pet like a cat or dog could help to prevent you feeling all alone, as you won’t be alone!
Work in public
Most pubs, cafes, supermarkets and hotels have free WiFi nowadays. Take a break from working at home and work in a local WiFi spot instead. A different work environment even just once per week can stop the home feeling like a prison!
Meet up with friends
If you have other work-at-home friends or family who are available weekdays, then arrange to take a morning off every once in a while to have a catch up. I usually take a Friday morning off to meet a friend for a hot drink providing I’m not stacked with work. Not only does this give you something to look forward to during the rest of the working week, but it ensures you take a break, interact in real life with others and recharge your batteries.
Get a part-time job
A part-time job for one day a week could be the perfect solution to meet new people and be forced to get out the house! If time is short then volunteering is also another great idea. Many charity shops are grateful for those who can spare even a couple of hours per week.
Learn what’s right for you
We are all different and it’s about working out what is right for us as individuals. I like a lot of time by myself and work well when I’m alone, but after two years of working from home I have noticed a difference in my mood and mental health when I stop leaving the house altogether, however much I think I enjoy the solitude! So, for me, I now go to the gym four mornings per week before I start my working day and I aim to meet with a friend on a Friday morning at least every other week. This really helps to keep my mood in check. I will also work for a few hours in the gym café at least every other week.
It can take a while to find a routine that works for you and stops you feeling so isolated at home. If you work all day long at home every day without ever getting out of the house and seeing another human, then the chances are you will start to feel isolated even for those of us who are introverted and enjoy alone time. This can have a negative impact on mental health and overall wellbeing. Follow some of the above tips to make sure you don’t start feeling lonely and stop any sense of isolation in its tracks.