As you take your first steps into this work-from-home movement, it’s not unusual to miss even the most unappealing features of a standard full-time job. Most commonly, people that work from home have difficulty coping with the loss of a regular social routine in the workplace.
The consequences of isolation can be wide-reaching. As your brain begins to spend more time thinking about isolation and a lack of social engagement, it can be almost impossible to remain motivated about your work. Psychologically, that isolated feeling can quickly lead to more serious depression. Physically, the struggle to stay motivated and engaged without social interaction can lead to comfort eating, caffeine overdoses and more.
Almost everybody that works from home has felt isolated at one time or another. So, how can you deal with this incredibly common feeling? What practical steps can you take to stop your home office from becoming a prison? And how can innovative new services make it easier for you to start new relationships with friends and potential customers?
Three Practical Steps To Staying Healthy While Working Alone
One of the most crucial aspects of avoiding that isolated feeling is a clear, well-defined objective. Although you will hopefully have objectives from work, here are a few things to aim at for the sake of your well being.
1. Plan A Varied Working Day
Working from home brings with it some flexibility, but too much freedom does more harm than good. A sense of independence and control can, over time, become nothing more than a disorganized, unproductive working pattern.
The first thing that anybody should do if they are to work from home is invest in a good journal. In this journal, plan a clear schedule for your working day, including all of the work that you will need to do, alongside administrative tasks. Examine this schedule – is it varied?
Most people fall into patterns of similar work. For example, sending emails, writing a letter and publishing website material is all essentially the same task – sitting at a computer, hitting the keys.
Try to find new ways to make your work more varied. Particularly, look out for chances to be more social. Could you make a phone call instead of sending that email?
2. Embrace The Flexibility Of Working From Home
Although the flexibility of working from home can become disorganized if left unchecked, it is this same flexibility that attracts people to work from home. When fully embraced, having complete control of your day can be used to eliminate isolation.
If you have previously worked in an office, the natural inclination is to sit at your desk from 9am until 5pm, giving yourself only a short lunch break. One of the most difficult things to do is leave this way of working behind!
Be excited about the fact that, with the right equipment, you can probably take your work to a coffee shop, or the park. Even if you do not have time to engage in social activity, simply being surrounded by other people can play a key role in minimizing the effects of isolation.
3. Maintain A Work-Life Balance
Finally, take care not to let your work-from-home business eat into the other more social areas of your life. Value the time when you are away from your business, and do not let your work creep in. Sometimes, feeling isolated during your working day is actually a symptom of wider isolation. A great example is working from home and, when your partner comes in from work at the end of the day, continuing to work late into the evening. This is a waste of valuable social time that is, ultimately, more important than a few extra hours of work. When opportunities to be more social arise, seize them!
How The Web Can Help
As the web becomes an increasingly social place, people that work from home have more opportunities to engage with people during their working day.
For almost every kind of business, there are websites with dedicated discussion forums. Not every conversation here needs to be about work – many forums allow people to simply chat about any subject that they choose. Try searching the web – Google even has a ‘Discussions’ tab that you can click to find forums with ease.
Alternatively, get involved with social media. Twitter and Facebook are fantastic marketing tools, but they are also places where like-minded people chat about every subject under the sun!
Allow Yourself Time To Adapt To Working At Home
From optimizing your daily work routine to throwing yourself into brand new online social groups, there is absolutely no reason that you should allow yourself to be isolated. The ability to work at home is a gift, not a curse – but that’s not to say that it’s easy.
Although people that have never worked from home might have difficulty understanding how you feel, know that isolation is a feeling that everybody feels at one time or another. As you make the transition from a lively office environment to your own private space, the best advice is to give yourself time to adapt and take a few practical steps to maintaining and expanding your imagination.