The human-race has never been as connected as it is today. We can message someone on the other side of the world in the time it takes for your heart to beat just once – yet more and more people are experiencing loneliness than ever before. If you’re one of the millions of people who have working from home jobs – loneliness can be daily issue for you.
Don’t put a brave face on
If you’re reading this because you’re feeling like the loneliness of your role is getting on top of you – we strongly recommend your first stop is with your manager. It might feel like the person you report to in your company is the last person you’d want to burden with your feelings – but actually, people who turn to their managers are often amazed at what they can put into place to support you.
Don’t forget, your manager wants you to succeed – it’s much better to tweak things to suit your needs than it is to find another role, move you, and retrain someone else. It could be that your current working practice suits others, but doesn’t suit you – if don’t you speak up your manager might assume you’re doing just fine.
If you’re up for fighting loneliness yourself, or you’re about to start a new role and want to make sure you’re getting off on the right foot, consider some of these tactics:
- Put the radio on
As a simple first step, putting the radio on can make you feel connected to the outside world. It might not increase your social interaction, but if a brain-hack is enough then hearing presenter voices and occasional news updates is scientifically proven to make you feel connected.
- Work outside the house
If your role permits, get out of the house now and again – every day if it helps! Assuming you don’t need an incredibly quick internet connection you can often find a good working environment in a coffee shop, library, hotel lobby, café or many other places. You’ll interact with people, drink coffee and maybe even do some networking.
- Schedule catch ups with colleagues
If you’re part of a bigger company why not suggest to colleagues that you have a weekly catch up on all things work related? Perhaps it could be in person at your offices – if not, make it a regular conference call. Having an idea of how your role impacts the business more widely can really make a difference when it comes to feeling like you’re part of something bigger.
- Make social media truly social
Social media can just be a place to feel envious of other people’s holiday snaps – but actually, there are loads of opportunities for establishing real life connections. Don’t be a dormant on-looker, get messaging, commenting, sharing and liking to start real conversations and connections.
- Try to make friends outside of work.
Getting a work and life balance right when your home is your workplace can be hard – so making sure you’ve got something to do when the evening or weekend comes around can be really beneficial. If you have one or two friends outside work then ask if you’d be welcome when they next do something with their wider social circle.
If you’re one of the millions of people who don’t consider themselves to have any close friends, consider reconnecting with old friends, chat with people when you cross paths or be a regular in a coffee shop, gym or restaurant – there’s lots of people out there keen to make connections.
- Ditch the computer and phone – and escape!
If you’re feeling like your only connection with the outside world is an electronic one then switch it off for a while and go out! Studies show that going for a walk or getting lunch outside of your work place can help lift your mood, improve your posture, lessen your chances of developing stress and turbo-charge your productivity. While you’re out, you’re going to feel way more connected with the world than if you’re just peering at it through your blinds.
- Join a gym or take some classes
You might not consider yourself a ‘gym person’ – but they can be great places to chat with people or see familiar faces – especially in classes and training sessions. How about salsa dancing? Learning sign-language? Picking up a new foreign language? Perhaps you fancy a hardcore workout at Crossfit? You’ll find some real camaraderie when you’re mixing with people in these environments and they can be something to look forward to in your darker home working moments.
- Meet ups, ‘tweetups’ and professional events
Professional meet ups have gone from strength to strength in the last 5 years. Did you know LinkedIn, Twitter and some professional Facebook groups all have regular professional and social gatherings? Look at professional networking groups and breakfasts too – if your job involves promoting your business, social and professional lives can combine!
- Go to work socials
Do you have colleagues that also work from home? Perhaps you’re in constant communication with managers or an office based department? If your location allows why not ask them if they would like some outside of work food, drinks or general socialising? If they don’t exist, perhaps you could organise something? If you really want to make your mark, take them to a karaoke bar and make your presence felt!
- Look at shared office spaces
It might seem like something that negates the whole point of working from home – but actually, you can establish your own office cheaply if you’d like to share with other people. There are specialist websites for people who are look for shared office space – you can keep all the perks of working under your own steam while having some people around to make you feel a little more connected.
Although the problem here is loneliness – you’re absolutely not alone in your feelings. Finding ways of making connections might feel tricky, but there are people and places waiting for you if you’re able to branch out a little. Ultimately, if loneliness feels like it’s getting the better of you, chat with your doctor, your feelings are not at all uncommon – and they’ll definitely be able to support you toward feeling better, whatever your situation is.