Working alone sounds great. No one steals the last cup of coffee, and there’s no boss telling you to get to work. There’s one big catch. Remote workers often suffer from isolation. You may have limited opportunities to interact with others. This can become quite uncomfortable after a while. Before you start talking to your plant, take control of the situation.
Find ways to spend time with others
- Co-Working If you can afford it, consider getting an office in a building with other people. You’ll have more chances to chat with your fellow building-dwellers and some office buildings have a lot of amenities, such as gyms.
- Stay in touch with your friends. Your old work friends don’t have to stop being your friends just because you work alone now. It’s easy to lose track of each other. Make an effort to stay in touch with those you like. It’s harder to make new friends when you don’t see the same people repeatedly.
- Send an email or make a phone call at least once a week to stay in touch.
- Find others who are working remote. You’re not the only one feeling isolated. Take advantage of social media and find others just like yourself. You can communicate online, but it would be much better to get together in person.
- Skype can be a good compromise if you want to communicate with someone outside your city.
- Look into networking opportunities. There are meetup groups, business networks, and other opportunities to get together with other like-minded people. You might even grow your business through these activities. Get out of the house on a regular basis and mingle. Go to meetup.com and get started.
- Avoid eating lunch alone. Everyone eats lunch. Be on a mission to find an endless supply of lunch partners. Between your networking groups, friends, family, neighbors, old friends, and the trusty internet, you should be able to find plenty of willing lunch partners.
- Get a pet. Consider getting a dog. A fish or cat might be more your style, but dogs are more interactive. Your dog will always be happy to see you. The cat might not care1. No one will understand just how brilliant you are more than your dog.
- Create a routine. It might not make sense, but having a routine can help to beat feelings of isolation. It’s easy to sit and stare out the window when you work alone. Having a schedule prevents this. You’ll also know when your next dose of human contact is coming. Make a routine and force yourself to stick with it.
- Join a gym and use it. There’s always someone at the gym. If you can stick to a schedule, you’ll see a lot of the same people over and over. You can also get in great shape in the process. This can be a great way to have a few conversations.
- Spend time with your clients. If you have local clients, get out of the office and stop by for a visit. They’d probably welcome a short break. You’ll maintain valuable relationships and boost your social life.
Isolation and remote work don’t have to go hand-in-hand. With a little planning, you can find plenty of people to share part of your day. You don’t have to suffer just because you’ve decided to work at home. There are options for enjoying regular human contact. Take advantage of them and leave your isolation behind.
Sorry folks, I love cats and have several of my own; but dogs do make better social partners. ↩