This is a guest post by Marie-Pier Rochon. I’m always looking for passionate women entrepreneurs to share their voices on my blog. If you’ve got a story or some tips to share, you can find out how to submit a guest post right here. And now, on to today’s post.
Working from home can be a blissful experience.
Stay in your jammies and fuzzy slippers all day if you want.
Plan for a late morning coffee date with a friend, on a Tuesday.
Take a nap in the middle of the day.
Go to the gym when there are no crowds.
No more meetings that never seem to end. No more awkward conversations as you refill your coffee cup in the staff kitchen. No more team building exercises that make you cringe.
But, after spending too much time in your own company, you can go a little, shall we say, crazy? Hermit-like? Reclusive?
The isolation of working from home, whether you work for yourself or even as part of a remote company, can become weighty. Before the lack of connection crushes your soul, there are plenty of things you can try to make working from home the blissful adventure you imagined it would be.
So before you start going coo-coo, you can try these out:
1) Go to meetups
If you’re in a profession that has a great local community, you can attend some meetups. That way, you’ll killing two birds with one stone: you’re networking with your peers and you’re getting out of the house for some adult conversation. And if networking is not your strong suit, Amber’s got some tips for you.
Going to meetups for fun, and not work, can also help save your sanity. Especially if you’re going through a bit of an intense phase in your business, then you’ll probably need a bit of a breather to think about something else. You might want to try book clubs, social drinks, movie dates or crafts collectives.
You’ll find meetups on meetup.com (duh!), but also in local Facebook groups, by doing a good-old Google search. You can also look up your community’s newspaper or website, and if your local library has got a community board, you might even find some interesting events on there.
If you can’t find just the right meetup for you, can can also make one happen. It’s not because it doesn’t exist that there’s no need for a group of people who have just the same interests as you do.
2) Try a coworking space
Not all coworking spaces are made equal so you might have to try out a couple before you’ll find the one that fits you like a glove.
Often, a co-working space will house people of similar industries and skills. You’ll find that developers, technical professionals and startups hang out together while creatives such as copywriter, designers and photographers tend to share similar spaces. Some coworking spaces are bigger, some are smaller. Some have a crowd of regulars while other are better suited to nomad workers. Some welcome water-cooler chit-chat, while others are dead silent.
No matter what the culture of the coworking space is, simply being around other human being can help you feel more… human.
To find one near you, look at Desks Near Me or do a quick Google search with your town’s name.
3) Join an online community
Did you know almost 80% of people who belong to online communities do it because they want to help out other people? That’s very good news to know that virtual communities are more and more supportive.
You can find these groups by topic for professional or personal interests or by location. Some of the online groups you’ll find even meet in person once in a while.
You’ll find online communities in the form of forums, inside larger communities like Reddit that also have sub-groups, or inside smaller groups on popular social media platform like Facebook Groups. Looking for online mastermind groups means you may have to fork up a little bit of money, but the value you’ll get from these types of groups will go beyond helping with boredom.
4) Schedule calls & chats
So you’ve made some online friends in these communities, but you feel like it’s not enough?
Organise a weekly chat with your online besties so you can actually see each other’s faces and hear your voices. It’s amazing what a real chat, and not just a typed one, can do to boost your mood.
Keep it simple by using Skype, Facetime or Google Hangout.
There are so many types of volunteer opportunities that would do a work-from-home hermit a lot of good, while doing some good.
From giving a couple of hours a week to visit seniors at a local nursing home just for a chat, to helping organise some cultural event in your home town, passing by a couple of month of overseas volunteer work in disadvantaged communities, the choice is yours.
And finding volunteer opportunities could not be easier than ever. Many countries have their own organisations dedicated to matching volunteers with the right organisations.
6) Get sporty
Exercise is proven to make you brain work better. Who knew getting fit could also give your sanity a bit of a boost?
You’re into team sports? Join your local league of (insert your favourite sport). Volleyball? Dodgeball? Bubble soccer?
You prefer individual sport? Simply take lessons where you’ll get to practice your favourite sport while meeting other humans. Or go to fitness classes where people do the same routine together. Think Crossfit gyms, spinning classes, dance classes, Zumba and so on.
7) Work outside the house
Give yourself a regular appointment to do some work outside of you home. But don’t fall in the trap of always going to the same spot. Switch it up once in a while even if you end up going back to your favourites more often than others.
Go to a cafe or a pub that’s got good wifi. Try out your local library. Even a park will do on a nice sunny day. If there’s no wifi, you can use your phone as a hotspot.
Simply changing the scenery of your workstation can stimulate your creativity, forces you to talk to other humans and you may even make a new friend if you’re very lucky.
8) If you can, travel
This tip is not something that is for everyone. But if you have the freedom to work from anywhere, and a small budget to get your started, becoming a nomad worker will definitely break the housebound spell if you don’t see your ‘Welcome Home’ mat for a little while.
If you find it hard to work while you’re travelling, you can always try a workation first.
If all these fail, ask for help.
If you think your feelings of isolation are a bit beyond boredom or a lull in motivation and more on the side of depression or anxiety, ask for help. Talk to your doctor or call a helpline. Don’t let your isolation get the best of you, and don’t wait too long before checking in with a professional who can assess if your level of loneliness is totally normal or beyond the norm for people who work from home.
Do you have any other tips to banish boredom? What has worked best for you and what hasn’t?