Like many others, until 2020 I considered working from home more of a luxury than business as usual.
Then all of a sudden COVID-19 hit, and working from home became mandatory. Fast forward two years later and I’m still working from home. After about 8 months I realized I had to change my habits to stay upbeat—WFH loneliness wasn’t something on my radar several years ago; these new feelings of isolation were new to me (and many others).
Truth be told, I really began to miss being in a physical office about a year ago. Not the office format really, but the social interactions, the jokes, the normal-life stuff. The basketball discussions, the fun stuff.
Tip: Working from home doesn’t eliminate the need for social interaction.
To truly fight loneliness as human beings we have to have people in our lives. In the rest of this post, I want to talk about a couple of tips that have worked for me to avoid loneliness. Disclaimer: If you are battling depression definitely consult with a doctor; these tips are just a few things that have worked for me.
1. Get involved in your local community
Now that I work from home, all of a sudden I can make that mid-day community event, or that volunteer opportunity. Choose to do something with your time spent at home during the week. I’ve learned you must be intentional (especially if it doesn’t come easy)
Another way I’ve been called to reach out is through the local church. For me personally, I now have a better opportunity to reach people in my community with the love of Christ, to be the hands and feet of Christ—volunteering to serve others…no matter what background people come from.
To truly impact communities for the better, I believe we should care for people enough live life with them—even those who have different views than us. Loving someone doesn’t mean you have to accept their life choices. Life conversations, faith conversations…striking up a conversation goes a long way.
So give it a try. Reach out to someone in your community, join that entrepreneur group that meets all the library in the library every Tuesday of the month.
Find ways to connect with your local community and see if you don’t become a happier person after about two or three months.
2. Take short walks—every day if you can
Since I’ve been working from home, I absolutely love taking walks every three hours. If you live in a subdivision and can take short breaks, get some fresh air and sunlight each day…you’ll probably find people working from home doing the same thing.
If you have the ability to carve out a time block between meetings, get out of the office for a minute. It’s okay to step away from your desk for 10 minutes, it’s okay to take a walk down the sidewalk and think about something completely unrelated to work.
You’d be surprised just how many people need an encouraging word or gesture every day you don’t know the impact just a simple gesture can have on your community if you’re willing to do that every day if you’re willing to do something about it.
Side note: Many of my most creative ideas and some of my best business plans as an option for newer have come from just walking the sidewalk and getting away from a traditional working environment of a desk and a computer monitor spend time in prayer and spend time thanking about your thoughts
3. Take advantage of local meetup groups
For me it can be extremely difficult to form friendships, especially working from home. People have a lot going on, but you’d be surprised at how many local hobby-oriented meetup groups you can find on Facebook or sites like Meetup.com
If you work from home but want to stay involved in the community, here are a couple of ideas:
- Take a community college class in a subject that interests you
- Find and join a hubby-oriented club (like a car club)
- Serve in your local church or volunteer organization
- Attend apartment community/HOA-sponsored events
Now more than ever, you have a better opportunity to become an entrepreneur if that’s you. Less time on the road commuting, more time building a team in your local community.
4. Talk to HR about team-building events
Since many people work for companies that manage a distributed workforce across the country, one idea is to take a minute to reach out to your HR manager if you are feeling lonely.
There are a lot of online team-building activities via Zoom; from painting to murder mystery events, these are a lot of fun speaking from experience.
If you were remotely but work in the same city as your coworkers, take time to get to know them outside of work.
Even if your company doesn’t force get-togethers, take time to meet up, to grab food, to attend an event.
Simply connecting with someone you work with (outside of online) can really help with not feeling like you’re isolated.
5. Find a co-working space
If you miss some office perks (but still enjoy WFH perks), consider finding a co-working space away from the distractions of home life. Companies like WeWork (and many others) offer affordable shared co-working spaces; these coworking spaces are a good way to interact with people in your community.
In a coworking space, you don’t have to worry about a boss looking over your shoulder but can still enjoy all the office perks. I’ve been to a few of these types of offices and can say their event staff does a great job.
It also gives you a way to separate your home life from your work life. I personally miss driving into the office sometimes, but I don’t miss the meeting room scheduling or the micromanagement.
There are quite a few of these coworking spots popping up across the United States. You can typically rent a desk or even a small 10 by 10 room where you can create your own office space.
Think about it…you might actually enjoy going to an office that you’ve designed yourself.
6. Explore partial WFH options
I love the perks of working from home, but I have considered other jobs where working from home is encouraged, not mandatory, but there is a local office available.
For some, it may be a better fit to ditch the WFH lifestyle..at least for a while. If you just moved to a new city and crave social interaction, working from home may not be the best choice. Working in an office might just outweigh the perks of working from home, especially if you’re single or sharing an apartment.
To tackle loneliness while working from home, you must be proactive. I’m a big believer in meeting new friends at trivia night at your local coffee shop or finding people with similar interests you can connect with throughout the week.
What advice do you have to fight occasional loneliness that results from working at home?