Working From Home – 5 Tips To Avoid That Dreaded Loneliness

Loneliness Of Working From HomeRecently Mary wrote a post on FSw about her loneliness as a freelance writer and how badly she missed human company.

Although Mary ended the post on a positive note, talking about the benefits of working from home, this is a topic which probably concerns everyone out there who is working from home.

Man is a social animal. Working from home, it’s never easy to just stay glued to your computer for the entire day without talking to or hanging out with anyone outside your family. Being a full time blogger and freelancer, who took the plunge after quitting a nice job with the world’s largest computer firm, I too sometimes tend to miss the corporate culture and the social circle and interaction.

So how to avoid this loneliness? Two solutions:

  1. Go back to your full time job
  2. Try some of the following tips and see if they work for you (they have worked for me)

1: Skype

Skype could be your best friend when it comes to avoiding that solitude. It always feel nice to hear a human voice rather than just chatting on IM. Everyday, a 15-20 mins conversation with your buddy could charge you up and help you work better.

2: Touch Base With Friends Often

You should not ignore those friends who are not a part of your virtual world. Instead you should call them often and also try and meet them whenever possible. This will ensure that you stay in touch with them and have a life outside your home office too. :)

3: Network With Other Freelancers In Your City

One of the things which differentiates a full time job from a work-at-home job is the work environment. In a full time job, you interact with your colleagues everyday about professional and personal things, verbally and face-to-face. If you miss such interactions in your daily life after taking the plunge to full-time freelancing, then its always good to network with other people in your city, who are also working from home. You can also meet them and have a similar interaction with them.

4: Practice Your Hobby

Everyone of us has a hobby and most of us have almost forgotten it due to lack of time. Now is the time to rediscover it and practice it everyday. Like our very own Jon, who is a rockstar by night and also a guitar teacher. He is also the lead guitarist in a heavy alternative band. I am sure this started as a hobby for him and now, apart from working from home as a web designer and blogger, he enjoys being a rockstar too ! :)

5: Get A Part-Time Job

If you are really missing your full time job and the corresponding work environment, then its better to hunt for a part time job and invest 4-5 hours there everyday. Then after some time you can always assess if you are going along well with your freelancing and the part-time job or its time to quit the work-at-home thing or really go full-time.

I’d love to get suggestions from you on this topic. What do you do when you feel stressed and/or lonely, or you simply miss the human interaction?

Cheers,
Abhijeet Mukherjee

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About the author: Abhijeet Mukherjee is a blogger and freelance writer. He is a regular contributer for many blogs notably including DumbLittleMan.com and MakeUseOf.com. He also maintains his own blog about tech tips, productivity hacks and blogging tips – Jeet Blog

Comments

  1. says

    I have used all of these methods when I was freelancing – also it’s good to get out and do an outdoor activity at least once a day to avoid cabin fever. As freelancers that work at home we are apt to work around the clock and that isn’t good at all!

    I ended up going back to work fulltime and now I’m tired of it. Sure the money is great and consistent, but damn there are people around ALL THE TIME!

    Haha, I’m kidding, but after freelancing for almost 6 years and then jumping into the corporate world doing web development I’m so tired of it. I can’t wait to get back to freelancing full time :)

  2. says

    Interesting article. I particularly like the section about networking in the city. I know atleast here in Philadelphia their is a well-connected freelancer network which gives local freelancers weekly/monthly opportunities to get together, drink beer, and gripe about micro-managing bosses!
    No matter how introspective or solitary someone is, they eventually need to interact with others.

  3. says

    @Lindsey- Freelancing is fun but can be stressful too…but yes those who have really done it…they know it always feels great to be in control ! :) So I hope you get back to it full time :)

    @Joe- Its great that you have such a thing in Philadelphia ! It will help you interact with other freelancers and have a good time with them. Nice

  4. says

    I try to ‘do lunch’ as much as possible, breaks up the day a bit, gets me out of the house, keeps me moderately sane, keeps the food crumbs out of my keyboard :)

  5. says

    I love this article! It is true in every sense of the word. There are times the four walls creep in and threaten to talk back and you know you will lose that battle every time. My first year in our new home I knew absolutely no one in my neighborhood and worked as a home based freelancer. I now have two very large dogs and seven cats living inside and out. They are the best listeners! And they saved my sanity when I needed someone to talk to the most.

  6. Ella says

    Thing is, I’m not really great at making new friends. Or actually, I suck at it. So I have no-one to get together with or ‘do lunch’ with, or Skype. Networking isn’t really my thing, due to the same problem.

    It’s not that I don’t want to, just that I’m shy and introspective. Business contacts aren’t that hard, it’s like I can play a role then. So in business, all’s great, I get new assignments and stuff. But personal relationships… well, let’s just say that they are non-existent at the moment (outside family of course).

  7. says

    Nicely written and number two is an essential for keeping yourself grounded to the outside world. When you are locked up in your home office, it is tough sometimes, and actually sitting with living and breathing folks can get your creativity flowing again and give you an extra added boost! Great breakdown and tips!

  8. says

    Get a dog. The dog will make you go outside. When you’re outside, you’ll meet your neighbors. you’d be surprised how many of your neighbors work from home too (i sure was). and now, we having a standing date to meet at the dopark at 3:30 every day. sometimes we meet at other random times. it’s definitely a needed break/social hour for me every day.

  9. says

    Great post Abhijeet. I founded eMoms (now Sparkplugging) because I wanted to teach people about the big mistakes I made in past work at home businesses. The isolation and loneliness contributed to a big bout of depression I experienced several years ago. I think it’s so easy to overlook this, but people who work at home really need to proactively prevent loneliness in order to be able to sustain long-term freedom from the cubicle. :)

  10. says

    I love Skype…only thing is I get into chatting a little too much and don’t get as much work done as I should. However, it DOES squash the loneliness!!

  11. says

    One reason I work part-time at a library is that I love how it clears my head and keeps me in touch with people. Plus I get a lot of good ideas there because I’m not trying…

  12. says

    It is critical to do something active if you are freelancing (at least for the web folks). Staying couped up for days by the keyboard can make you feel like you are deteriorating. A little daily exercise will get your juices flowing and can really improve productivity.

    If you are in a bike-friendly area, try doing your routine errands on bike (Supermarket, post office, lunch …) This will make them take longer, but that outing might be just what you need.

  13. says

    Thanks for the tips. Working from home certainly has the drawback of loneliness, but the many benefits outweigh that. I’ll often pick up the phone when an email would have sufficed, just to get a break and chat with a client or friend. And while I often have lunch at home I’ll sometimes go out to eat or just go for a drive, especially now that the nice weather is here.

    Oh and it’s not the same as human companionship, but having a pet sure is nice. My cat Tigger is a lot of fun to work with, though it seems that it’s me that does all the work.

  14. says

    I have been working from home as a graphic designer for about three years now. At first I found it lonly at times, but then I realized how much financial freedom it brought me. One thing I did start doing is becoming heavily involved in local chamber meetings and started networking at industry events. It brought upon a very fun lifestyle with no regrets. But the article is exactly on the money…

  15. Nate says

    I’ve worked from home for 3 years now. I moved to a new city and went virtual at the same time. It was incredible lonely. Not only did I not know anyone, but I didn’t meet anyone new through work. I took a second job as a waiter and it has been incredibly rewarding. Even now I’m excited to go to my 2nd job. I met a bunch of cool people, make a surprising amount of extra money every month, and most of my social life has come through the resteraunt. I’d recommend it for about anyone. It’s also not that hard to find someplace that doesn’t require experience if your willing to spend a little time running food or bussing tables.

  16. says

    I think Wendy nailed it. You need to “proactively prevent loneliness.” It’s not that taking a second job is better or worse than pursuing your hobby or vice versa. But you have to proactively do SOMETHING to get out of the house! ;-)

  17. says

    I am just about to go into full-time freelancing leaving my job and I am already scared of this loneliness specially after leaving from a corporate environment having people all around you throughout the day.

    But, according to me few more alternatives to get yourself away from this demotivating lonliness is to join some memberships like swimming, Gym, sports clubs(cricket, table tennis, anything),etc,etc.. depending totally on your interests and hobbies. Not only you meet people on a regular basis but also have some fun while developing some extra skills in you. :-)

    Have fun freelancers ;)

  18. Luz says

    Thanks for all the tips. After a long day of working at the computer, it’s good to “hear” that others struggle from the same feeling of loneliness and isolation when working from home. I have been doing this for 6 years and it’s been pretty hard this past year due to increase in work. I too try to get out and grab coffee, walk around, and thankfully I have a very active social life. It’s just when I’m here that I need to be disciplined enough to make myself get up and walk around. Discipline is key for me! Take care of yourselves!

  19. says

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  20. says

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