Work-from-home people know it all too well. The first few months, working from home seems like the dream job. No more office politics and an overbearing boss. No more of the stress of getting stuck in traffic and being late for work.
Then reality sets in. When you have a break from work, there’s no one to talk to. No office banter and colleagues to share your stories with, no rushing to get a ride or driving, no deadlines to meet and reports to make. What you thought you’ve gotten rid of suddenly becomes appealing.
The feeling of isolation is an insidious process. It creeps up on you unobtrusively and before you know, you’ve lost the zeal for meeting deadlines, achieving your goal and satisfying your clients.
All is not lost, however. It’s not depression (not yet, anyway) and you don’t have to go to expensive shrinks to tell you what to do. Here are tips for dealing with isolation.
The aloneness is inevitable. You may not have anticipated it but now that it’s there, you must learn to live with it and recognize that it is an occupational hazard of the trade you have chosen. But it’s not enough to accept; remember that you can do something about it.
You have flexible working hours and are earning money from it. Compare your circumstances with others-media people assigned to ISIS nations, women with unfaithful husbands, people without internet, Korean comfort women , the hunger in Africa. There are so many problems besetting other people that you’ll be grateful for your situation.
Identify what you miss most.
Then find ways to counter them. People who work from home most often miss the physical contact with others. Human beings, even introverts, are social creatures. Online conversations cannot replace personal face-to-face encounters. You miss the obligatory office activities you used to dread. The Christmas parties with the usual games, the drunken officemate, and the trainings and seminars the company pays for you to attend.
Invite friends for coffee and accept their invites if you get one. Volunteer your services on a part-time basis with organizations. Work somewhere else once in a while; take your laptop to a nearby Starbucks but don’t overstay your welcome. Get out of the house everyday for a few minutes to walk your dog, jog or buy something from a convenience store.
Continue your professional development.
Attend trainings and meetups. Job websites like Elance and Odesk hold gatherings in local places for their member providers. Sign up or attend as an invitee. Or look up trainings and seminars that interest you, participate in them and make new friends with the same interests.