Working remotely has its perks. You don’t have to commute or get stuck in traffic. You have more time to concentrate on work. You’re more comfortable being at home on your couch. But working from home can also increase the feeling of isolation, especially if you’re doing it for an extended period of time and having few other interactions outside of work (as is the case for many of us during the COVID-19 pandemic). You have less direct social interaction. At times, you may feel lonely and separated from the world.
The good news is there are lots of things you can do to reduce the feeling of isolation as a remote worker. We outline them here:
Sounds simple enough, right? Being comfortable is great, but don’t stay in your PJs all day. Getting dressed and preparing for the day can help you get into the right mindset for the day, and bring a little bit of normalcy into your routine. We’re not saying you need to get decked out i n your normal work attire (we get that comfy clothes are a huge perk of working from home!) but make sure to change into fresh clothing to start the day off right.
set a daily routine
Having standard work hours is very important. You need boundaries or you will start to feel like you are working all the time. Overworking when you’re home is a real problem. Yes, having flexibility is important, but don’t shift your work hours so much that your days blur together or that there’s no separation between your work and your downtime.
set the tone with a great playlist
Many people like to listen to music or the radio when working, for good reason. Upbeat, power music is a surefire way to boost your mood. If you’re working from home with others nearby headphones can also help you tune out distractions and stay focused. Create a killer work playlist with your favorite music, radio shows and podcasts. But make sure to choose content that won’t distract you from getting work done.
get some fresh air
A little fresh air can do you wonders. Schedule time to get outside. Take a walk on your lunch break. Make it a point to get out of your house before or after the work day. This will help you feel less isolated. Staying cramped in your home - especially if you live in a small apartment - can ramp up the feelings of isolation.
take breaks often
Having trouble concentrating? Feel anxious? Have a desire for social interaction? Take a break from what you are doing. Though we tend to think staying busy will keep us from being anxious, sometimes the opposite is true. Allow yourself a moment to breathe and just relax. Something as simple as having a brief chat, meditating, or watching a show can help you quickly recharge.
get in a workout
Working out on a regular basis is very important for your physical and mental health. Make sure to schedule in active time at least 3 times per week, but ideally on a daily basis. Whether you are going for a run, doing an at home workout, yoga, or following along with an at-home fitness class, it’s time well spent. Working out releases endorphins which give you an instant mood boost. That’s why many people like to work out in the morning, as it starts off the day on a high note.
build your online network
When you work from home, it’s even more important to connect with your colleagues, coworkers and others in your industry. Be an active participant in online groups, social channels, and take part of online chats, message boards and webinars. This will help quench your thirst for social interaction.
foster a pet
Pets can be a huge comfort in times of isolation. Many shelters are looking for people to foster pets. So even if you’re not 100% committed to adopting yet, fostering is a great option to have a companion during this time. A pet can do wonders. Just having a dog, cat, or any other pet at home with you will help you feel less alone. Pets always have a way of brightening up your day. They also help you get active and will remind you when it’s time to take a break!
have video meetings
Use video conferences to communicate with colleagues. The added dimension of being able to see others will help you feel less isolated and more like part of the team. Just don’t forget to get dressed before you call in for your video meeting!
have multiple spaces to work
One way to break up the monotony of working from home is to have other locations you can visit from time to time to get some work done. This might mean working from a local café, the public library, or even try a co-working space. Also, if you have the space, it can help to have a few different spaces in your home to work from.
As a remote worker, it’s important to put extra effort into being social. Make time to get out of your house, and put a little extra effort into networking and communicating with others. When you do this, you’ll feel less isolated and you’re able to enjoy the many perks of working from home.
For additional reading on remote jobs, check out these pertinent articles: