The perks of rolling out of bed and right into your office are undeniable, and avoiding office politics is a sanity-saver, but the flip side is the loss of the camaraderie and energy exchanged when you’re working side by side with others. Sometimes working at home can feel like you are simply living at work.
Work at home without feeling isolated with these tips on maintaining your professional relationships, cultivating new social opportunities and taking care of yourself.
Maintain Professional Relationships
Work at home long enough, and inevitably the voices on the other end of conference calls will be hard to connect with faces. Cultivate your client and co-worker relationships by asking for in-person breakfast or lunch meetings on occasion. Out of sight can mean out of mind, so remind co-workers of your availability for special projects and new clients. Ask them to include you on inter-office invitations for corporate outings, happy hours and birthday lunches. Use social media to keep up on co-workers’ lives, and consider video conferencing to feel like a part of the team, especially if you feel like you miss non-verbal cues and other interactions at meetings.
If it’s the exchange of ideas and creative stimulation you miss, attend trade shows, conferences and other professional development opportunities. Also, many cities have growing communities of freelancers who share office space or meet regularly for happy hours.
Find Social Outlets
Social media may be the new water cooler, but exchanging Facebook “likes” and tweets is hardly enough when you’re craving human connection. One of the perks when you work at home is the ability to choose your hours, so take advantage of a flexible schedule by signing up for regular yoga classes, a business course or volunteer work. Join a book club, running group or take your best friend to the dog park to meet other similarly minded people.
With the amount of freelance work growing rapidly, use social media to find out if others in your neighborhood work at home. Take the initiative to invite them to a monthly coffee or an afternoon walk.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, be aware that feelings of isolation can open the door to depression. Don’t underestimate the impact of a daily dose of fresh air. Open the windows and take regular walks. Work on the deck, or change your scenery even more by relocating your laptop to a coffee shop for a morning to soak up the stimulating smells and energetic vibe.
Consider making over your workspace to eliminate clutter. A tidy office with open windows and natural light is an instant mood booster. Play music if you miss the background noise of an office environment.
Make new friends and remind the old to keep you in the loop to avoid feelings of stagnation and isolation when you work at home. Find more inspiration on the freelance life. Follow @Transcribecom on Twitter.