Many people dream about being financially independent by working at home. It is a very beautiful dream, especially if you can work from home and make your schedule as you wish. I know this, because I’ve been there. I dreamt about finding a way to work from home because it seemed much more comfortable. Plus the idea of being my own boss excited me. So I found the solution when I started a virtual company that I managed from home until it grew big to move for a corporate office. Still, there was one thing I didn’t think about when it came to working like this. I was not prepared to feel lonely at one point, but I did. No matter how great it is to be your own boss and enjoying the comfort of your home every day, loneliness is a downside many people don’t see coming. So here are some tips to help you out, tips that helped me as well.
“Realize that loneliness is a feeling, not a fact”
Before we jump into ‘ How can you handle loneliness while working from home’, it is very important to understand ‘Why should you act on it and not feel lonely’.
Loneliness is very tricky and often painful and can also confuse you into thinking that you are a failure, an outcast. Confused lonely state often puts you in extreme emotional stress and you might react by withdrawing into yourself, your lonely thoughts, and feelings and that lead to more complicated situations in life.
Banish the silence
This is one of my favorites as I am a music lover. So there’s always something playing in my home or my office. Hearing sounds and voices is a way to block out the fact that absolutely no one is around. Recently researchers have released a study that shows an increase in cooperation and creativity in a working area with happy music, which can be identified by having rhythm and warmth and not arrhythmic and loud songs. The reason for this logic is that upbeat music makes our body release small amounts of a chemical in our brains that promote happiness and good mood called dopamine.
Focus on building and maintaining social relationships
Even if you start working from home, this doesn’t mean that you have to forget all about your friends, family, or even to meet new people. It is easy to get carried away by your activity and start filling your schedule with work, but you will only end up feeling even lonelier. So make sure to introduce social relationships on your to-do list. Invite friends over, do fun things with them and make all sorts of plans together, and even get out there to meet new people.
Change your working environment periodically
Check out to see if there are any co-working spaces for freelancers around the area you live, because it can be a great place to work and be together with people. If this doesn’t sound like such a good idea, you can try working in a park, café, or any other place that is outside your house and it is public.
Engage on social media
We are living in a world of instant communication and information overload. Regardless of your filed there are no shortages of opportunities to engage with like-minded people on the Internet. Joining LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter gives you access to people and knowledge from all over the world. But when you get into social media, you need to be very conscious and in control as often social media leads you to an Internet addiction.
Find collaboration partner/s
You can also consider finding a partner to work on a project for a mutual client. Every day, you can meet on Skype and work as if you both were in a room together. It’s nice to have someone there to check in with, bounce ideas off of, or just to talk.
Get out of the house
Do it at least once a day, even if it’s just a walk to the shops, and enjoy the time out instead of rushing back. Stop for a chat with a neighbor, do some window-shopping, or take a different route home.
We have great conferences, Seminars and trainings going on every now and then. You can definitely find some of the Conferences, Seminars and trainings in your domain. Go to these events not with the thought of getting more business, but as a way to learn and meet new people along with building a support network.
Turn the cameras on
If you don’t have any issue of bandwidth, you can turn on your web camera. Even if only for the first five minutes of the day to say hello to friends, family, clients or a remote worker. It is really very effective as seeing each other helps us feel more connected. There are lots of options for video collaboration these days: Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom to name just a few. And remember, it doesn’t always have to be work related. You can also enjoy having virtual lunch, coffee, and even virtual dance party!
Take technology-free breaks
Non-stop working will not help you deal with the feeling of being lonely or reduce stress. So, for your health and well being, take short breaks to get away from your computer, phone, and other device. Just get up and stretch, have a glass of water, and even enjoy a short walk outside. I recommend taking such breaks every one and a half hour of work.
Take up fitness group classes
Besides loneliness, the lack of physical exercise is another aspect that can bring you down when working from home. When doing group activities that involve working out, you will not only meet new people from your community, but you will also stay fit and healthy. I also want to mention that doing any kind of exercise will keep your productivity levels high, so it is worth it.
Keep in touch with your colleagues and company members
This is a tip for those people that work from home for virtual companies. Even if you don’t work in a regular company, this doesn’t mean you can’t connect and meet your colleagues. You can organize video or phone meetings periodically with the people in your department, for knowing each other better, without discussing work problems. Also, you can pitch your boss about an annual meeting of the company, where you can come up with solution to improve the performance and workflow. Just be creative and don’t hesitate to ask your boss and make proposals if you have any.