Despite being a remote worker for over four years now, I was quite surprised by the feelings I uncovered when I took the plunge from employee to freelancer.
I missed the camaraderie I’d experienced with the team and my clients.
I didn’t have someone who knew my job inside out to bounce ideas off.
And, quite honestly, it was a shock to translate this into feelings of isolation and loneliness.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2014, 4.2 million people in the UK were working from home at some point during their week.
So, with remote working providing both cost and efficiency savings for businesses, how can we work alone without feeling lonely?
Have a Dedicated Office Space
As a remote worker, it can be even trickier to find that coveted work/life balance because we’re always ‘at work’. However, without setting boundaries and permitting ourselves to ‘leave the office’, we’re running the risk of impacting our wellbeing by not giving ourselves the chance to ever switch off from work mode.
A dedicated office space where everything you need is nearby will instantly boost productivity and put you in the right frame of mind to start the working day. And, if you have a room in the house that’s solely for work purposes, you’ll also be able to close the door (literally and figuratively) when you finish the day.
The internet can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we can interact with others as soon as we launch social media, but we also run the risk of being distracted by useless content.
Then there’s the wet washing that needs hanging up, the dishwasher that needs emptying.
And just when you’ve grabbed yourself a cuppa and joined a conference call, the doorbell rings.
So, consider being pretty ruthless – switch the smartphone off so you’re no longer a slave to its notifications, don’t feel bad if you can’t find time to hang washing out, ignore the doorbell if you’re not expecting a delivery. Because all those little distractions can easily sap our focus and disrupt our day.
Build a Power Posse
A network of like-minded contacts is vital to sanity-saving success. However, if you’re not keen on formal networking events but do want to make a conscious effort to leave the house in a bid to be more sociable, there are other options. Why not check out www.meetup.com for organised meetings between those with similar interests, or look at spending the day at a local co-working space for a change of scenery. If you’re in Nottingham I recommend you check out Think, Minor Oak and also Antenna.
And have a read through of my blog Don’t Read This If You Want to Stay a Solopreneur so you start building a support network around you.
Take Regular Breaks
Just like working in an office-office, it’s so important for our mental and physical health to regularly step away from the desk and have a break.
Even five minutes of mindful walking practice will help strengthen concentration levels and bring awareness back to the present moment.
And thinking about the household chores again, if it’s causing internal stress, take a few moments to tick items off your mental list if you know it will be one less thing weighing heavily on your mind.
I recently purchased the Headspace app so I can do a few minutes of meditation at several points throughout the day. I even add these as reminders in Todoist so I don’t skip them!
Whether you choose to listen to background music on low or have to sit in absolute silence all day, I’d love to hear your tried and tested methods for effective working from home. Please comment below.