There are so many benefits to working from home. It’s great for your wallet, your peace of mind, and your sleep. It’s beneficial not only for employees, providing them with a more flexible work schedule, but also for companies, which can save money and grow without the concerns that come with purchasing new real estate.
It seems like a win-win, right? There are some downsides: one drawback that many remote workers report is feelings of isolation. In fact, metrics and statistics on working from home show that around 20% of those who work from home cite loneliness as their largest issue related to remote work.
How to combat loneliness as a remote worker
Identify that you have a problem (or at least, a potential problem): The first thing to do is come to terms with the idea that you might experience isolation as a remote worker. This is not a sign of weakness or a failure on your part - it’s a natural reaction to your circumstances. The best way to combat the negativity that comes with loneliness is to take active steps toward interaction.
Discover a new place to work: One of the distinct advantages of working from home is the flexibility to work from nearly any venue with solid Wi-Fi. You can do some of your work from a coffee shop or library, or even work from far-flung locales to keep things interesting. You could even sign up for a coworking space that’s designed specifically for remote workers. These shared office spaces are generally inexpensive to use and have all of the benefits of office life, including the community you lack when working from home.
Interact with your team: Set up times to meet with your team if you can — perhaps weekly at a coworking office space. If you can only meet rarely, schedule company retreats. And for the times you’re unable to meet in person, consider scheduling video conferences rather than audio-only meetings. This interaction can help reduce your feelings of isolation and make you feel like a valued member of the team.
Interact with your family and friends: To combat loneliness, it’s important to keep your calendar full. Because you aren’t in an office, you likely won’t be grabbing an impromptu lunch or making a Starbucks run with your coworkers. If you don’t schedule something in advance, it may not happen. Contact friends and family and try to set up regular social engagements.
Find networks of other remote workers: Telecommuter meet ups and forums are great ways to connect with other people who know what you are going through as a remote worker. They can offer advice and insight on things like how to communicate with your team and the best places to work from outside of the home.
There are a number of strategies you can use to keep feelings of isolation at bay when working from home. By being proactive about the issue, you can prevent your loneliness from turning into depression and you can enjoy all the benefits of working from home.
About the Author: Sarah Archer
Sarah is a Content Marketing Manager at Siege Media and Your Best Digs who works remotely while traveling. She’s passionate about developing high-quality content for diverse industries ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. When she’s not creating content, she’s likely hiking a new trail or mapping out the next destination.