Many people dream of a day when they can work for themselves and do that work from home. If you’re a parent who wants to combine both caring for your child and having a career, working from home may seem to be the best of both worlds, even if you do have to juggle finding time to work while taking care of the kids.
What many people don’t think of until they’re already working at home is the sense of loneliness they may feel. I have been a work at home mom for two years now, and while I don’t miss my old job or place of employment, I do sometimes miss the camaraderie and friendships I had with my coworkers.
If you are working from home, there are steps you can take to avoid feeling lonely:
Are you an outgoing person or an introvert? An introvert will likely have a much easier transition to working from home. If you’re an extrovert and get your energy from being with other people, setting up social connections is important or you may be miserable working from home. Take steps to have social connections in place before you take the leap to working from home.
Meet with Former Coworkers
Just because you have left your traditional job doesn’t mean you have to cut all connections. Once a month, meet a former coworker for lunch or a drink after work. You’ll get a break from the kids and the home, and you’ll be able to socialize with old friends and catch up on the work environment.
Find Other Ways to Socialize
If you’re also caring for kids, make time to take the kids out in the community. Taking the kids to story hour at the library or to a kids’ dance or music class can be a great way to meet and mingle with other parents.
Make Online Connections
Whatever field you are in, take the time to make online connections. If you are a blogger, for instance, find groups where bloggers in your field hang out. Join the forum and become an active member. When I first started staying home, I was a member of a frugal mom site, a personal finance bloggers group, and a writer’s group. Each offered different things and helped me connect. Now I’m not active on the frugal mom’s site, but I am still active on the other two forums.
Work Outside the Home
If you can hire a sitter for a few hours, why not change up your environment and work somewhere else? I frequently write at Starbuck’s on the weekend, as does another freelance writer who writes about wine. I didn’t know him last year, but because we always sit in the same spot, which happens to be next to one another, we slowly got to know one another. Even that brief interaction can help ease loneliness. Besides, a change of scenery is good for you.
If you work from home, you likely are glad to be rid of two or three hour meetings and office politics. Working from home offers many opportunities and savings. It can be truly enjoyable if you can sidestep the loneliness some people feel.
What is your favorite way to avoid loneliness when working from home?