Anyone who tells you that working from home is a blessing will also tell you that sometimes it has its down sides too. Of course rolling out of bed into your jammies and avoiding a stressful commute is something to celebrate. But when day after day you get to the coffee machine, the water cooler, the lunchroom, or bathroom and there’s nobody there, it can start to feel downright lonely.
Here are some tips to help you find a little more balance so that you feel better:
1. Walk and Talks
Meet clients or do your networking over a walk instead of a cup of coffee. Give yourself a good reason to get out there and take a walk and do support your business outside of your (home) office.
2. Take sun showers or non-smoking breaks
When I was in Portland, OR I made a pact with myself to get outside for at least 15 minutes when the sun came out. Thus, “Sun Showers”. This exercise can be a perfect motivator to get out of the house/office for a few minutes. If you are somewhere and there isn’t sun, take a few “non-smoking breaks”. Get up – move around – walk in front of the building and deep breathe.
3. Invite a friend, associate, or client to lunch
If you are ready for a little company and your home office would be an acceptable place for socializing, invite someone to join you at home or in a neutral place near your home to enjoy lunch together.
4. Create a MeetUp.com group for other home-based workers
You decide what you think would be fun to do. Happy Hours? Mastermind Groups? Business Book Reading Groups? This is a great way to connect with others who may also be facing similar challenges and have a good time. Or Join an existing group – Meetup.com and Craigslist.org are great places to connect.
5. Get a pet
They say that people who have pets live 5-10 years longer. I think it’s the daily walks and all that unconditional love. If you are feeling lonely – find yourself a furry friend who doesn’t bark much and take the edge off.
6. Take time to integrate personal phone calls or ichats or Google Hangouts
If you are feeling alone then reach out to family or friends on a daily basis. Even 5 minutes of exchanging banter via a Google hangout will remind you that you aren’t alone.
7. Make sure you get out there
If you are a people person working from home all day. GET OUT THERE! You need some social time. Make sure that you calendar time to make connections beyond technology.
8. Create a Dream Team
Find someone or a group outside your home to help you stay on track and achieve your goals. If feeling more connected to community is on your target list, find someone to help hold you accountable to this goal and Go For It!
9. Join a lunchtime group or attend some Lunch and Learns
Sometimes just being around other people is enough to make us feel like we aren’t so alone. Whether you go out to your local Starbucks, attend a free presentation, or join a lunch group of some sort. Get out and try something different during lunch.
10. Join Toastmasters
If you are a people person stuck at home working and you need to be mentally stimulated or feel like you are a part of doing good in this world… Join a Toastmasters or Service Group like Rotary or the Elks or Lions and connect with others who share some of the same interest in creating community. Note: Many of these groups meet over a lunch hour.
Whatever you do, if you are feeling lonely, then don’t be alone. Get out there and make connections and have fun. Celebrate what you love about having the freedom to work from home and reinvent the rest!
Jennifer Martin is Zest Business Consulting’s founder and lead San Francisco Business Coach and Small Business Consultant. She helps small business owners, leaders, and managers worldwide understand how to build thriving companies they love.