If you are considering working from home, or if you have already set up a home office, you are well aware of the benefits: no commute time, a more flexible schedule, and the ability to roll out of bed, put on the coffee, and get to work, even if you are still in your pajamas.
Few times do we think of the downside of working from home, which is the fact that you are going to be fairly isolated when it comes to your daily routine. Some people enjoy this type of working environment, but for others, the day to day aloneness can be a difficult mountain to climb.
When you are out in the workforce in an office environment you have numerous occasions to socialize on a daily basis: luncheons, meetings at the coffeepot, meetings with coworkers, or just a short trip in the elevator. Small talk might not seem like a fun task when you are forced into it, but when you don´t have to do it at all; well, at times it can seem a little too silent.
So if you are considering working from home, take the isolation factor into account. It shouldn´t deter your option, but it should make you consider ways in which you can get out there and meet other people, so that all of your time, from morning to night, seven days a week, is not spent at home without other adult interaction. Below are some ways in which you can ensure you don´t burn out on the isolation of working from home.
1. Join a club. Consider your interests and then find a club in your area that holds weekly or monthly meetings. If you like to read, join a book club. If you like to write, join a writing club. If you like to hike, join an outdoor club. Find other people with similar interests that don´t involve your work or your children, so that when you step out of the house for your weekly or monthly meet-up you are doing so for pure socialization.
2. Take a class. Again, find something that interests you or that you would like to learn how to do and take a class. Most local community colleges offer adult ed classes: cooking, wine tasting, knitting, yoga. Or join a gym and take some type of aerobics class.
3. Make a standing date with a girlfriend. Meet up at least once a month for dinner, a movie, a glass of wine, or some other fun activity that does not involve children or work. And set a limit on how much time you can talk about the two. Oftentimes, when we work from home, we expend all of our energy taking care of our children, our home, and our business. When we get out to socialize, we need to make sure that we don´t spend all of that time talking about our children, our home, and our business.
4. Make it a point to leave the house one time per week for something other than your business. Go out to lunch, even if you eat alone while reading a good book. Window shop (or indulge in the real activity if you can afford to do so!) When you are pent up in the house for too long of a time it is easy to become resentful and, well, depressed. You need a little Vitamin D, some sunshine on your face, and a few people to pass to whom you can say hello in order to get those spirits lifted.