Remote work has many benefits, but it could get a tad bit lonely when you usually work from home. Aside from feeling isolated if you’re mostly working alone, you might even begin to think that you’re not cut out for remote work and need to get back to an in-office job.
Try making a few adjustments in your current work setup first before hitting that “Apply” button. If you want to fight off the blues when you’re working remotely, try some of these tips:
1. Find a Coworking Space
If you’re missing the sense of community in a physical office, look for a coworking space. Harvard Business Review notes that professionals working in coworking spaces thrive more than those working in traditional offices. They find their work more meaningful, their jobs less constricting, and the community helpful for their professional growth.
Another study from Research Policy shows that coworking provides friends and social support, especially to less-advantaged entrepreneurs during difficult times. Don’t forget to consider these tech essentials for a productive coworking space. While it may cost you extra dollars, you’ll love the creative work environment and convenient amenities that come with most coworking spaces.
2. Connect With Others Using Apps and Smart Gadgets
It’s easier to carve out a space for friends, family, and colleagues when you’re not tied to a physical office for eight hours or more. Thankfully, technology makes it so easy to send a message and ask them to join you for a quick coffee break.
For instance, free apps like My Location give you the option to share your live location with others and help you know their location as well. The Garmin Connect app on Garmin smartwatches also has interactive features, letting you create groups, compete in fitness challenges, and comment on each other’s progress.
Using video chatting tools may also help. While video can never be a substitute for face-to-face interactions, seeing a friendly face and an actual person can help fight feelings of isolation. Instead of sticking to instant messaging all the time, try a Zoom or Google Meet call once in a while.
3. Join Online or Offline Communities
There are many ways to expand your network, even when you’re working remotely. First, you can join an online community that’s related to your work. If you’re a developer, try GitHub, Stack Overflow, or Reddit’s programming communities. There are also online groups on Facebook for freelance writers, digital nomads, working moms, and more.
Or you can join online or offline groups that are not work-related. Are you a bookworm? Try a virtual book club or Kindle communities on Facebook. There are tons of hobbyist groups and fan clubs on Facebook that are related to specific interests.
If you’re sick of virtual interactions, look for volunteer groups around your area. You can even go the extra mile and start your own community yourself. You’ll get to make your own rules, create social network pages, and decide who gets to join!
For those who have a lot of ideas, this could be a welcome break from the routine of work. If none of these seem interesting, try searching on Meetup, which helps you find and plan events in your local community.
4. Visit Your Office if You Have a Flexible Work Setup
If you have an employer who lets you work in the office once in a while, use the opportunity to connect with your colleagues. This can be a great way to maintain a sense of normalcy and ease loneliness while remote working. Plus, it can be fun to start ideating face-to-face once in a while.
If you absolutely hate working in the office because of the noise, clutter, or long unproductive meetings, there are effective ways to deal with that too. You don’t have to feel resentful every time you’re required to go to the office. Check out these common workplace distractions and how to avoid them for some tips.
5. Consider Getting a Dog
Dogs are considered man’s best friend for a good reason. They provide companionship and relieve stress when you’re working alone. Since it’s healthy for dogs to follow a strict schedule, you’ll also be forced to take regular breaks for walks and playtime.
If you’re a first-time dog owner, don’t forget to download an app like Sniffspot, which recommends the best private dog parks for you and your new friend. Not confident that you can train your pup? Try Goodpup, which helps you schedule and start the perfect training program with a professional trainer.
A word of warning though, getting a furry friend is fun and rewarding, but it may not be for everyone. Those Instagram Reels of dogs being all cute and cuddly do not show the full reality of owning a pet. A dog is a huge responsibility and a costly investment. It doesn’t matter if you buy or adopt one from a shelter; you’ll need to spend time and money. If you don’t think you can handle the extra load, just focus on our other tips.
6. Take Periodic Work Breaks
Taking regular breaks, even just a few minutes at a time, can help ease the sense of loneliness and isolation. One way to do this is to get up and move around during your break. Search for exercise videos on YouTube for a quick workout. Or try a mindfulness app like Headspace for expert guidance on topics such as loneliness and to get in a few minutes of relaxation.
Taking some time for yourself will help refresh your mind and body. In contrast, long periods of work without rest will only burn you out and make you feel more lonely once your task is done. Give yourself short breaks, and you’ll be ready to tackle the rest of your workday with new energy.
Working Remotely Doesn’t Mean Being Lonely
The loneliness that you feel when working remotely is valid and real. However, there are many ways to lessen this. Working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean being cut off from a healthy social life. It can actually give you the chance to try alternative workspaces, meet new friends, strengthen existing relationships, and pursue new hobbies.
Use the technology available to you, find activities that you enjoy, and get involved in your community. It pays to be intentional about logging out from work, so you can start exploring the opportunities that make flexible working arrangements enjoyable.