Telecommuting offers many freedoms that in-office jobs typically don’t bring. From eliminating commutes to getting groceries in the mid-afternoon, you likely enjoy many aspects of your telecommuting arrangement.
While telecommuting certainly offers more job freedom, it also brings more isolation. If you’re a natural social butterfly, you may have been unprepared for this increased isolation and may be struggling to overcome it. Since having a social life aids in life happiness and also increases work performance, here are five ways to continue socializing while working from home.
Most telecommuters are required to maintain normal business hours even though they work from home. If your employer still requires an 8 to 5 work schedule, you may find it difficult to get out and socialize during the day and may be consumed by family obligations at night.
One option for socializing even with a full schedule is to do so online. Online social networks offer great opportunities to remain connected with friends and coworkers until you can schedule a time to chat in person. While socializing online isn’t a complete replacement for in person gatherings, it will likely minimize your feelings of isolation throughout each workday.
Find Extracurricular Activities
Since telecommuting will typically cut off your coworker interaction, find extracurricular activities that will keep your social life intact. Coed sporting leagues, book clubs and other common activities are all great chances to make new friends while socializing with others. Find the best extracurricular activities by first assessing your interests and time schedule and then by researching any local opportunities that meet them.
Define Work Hours
A typical cause for the drop-off in socializing among telecommuters is working long hours. If you’re known to venture back to your computer even after the typical work day has ended, it’s time for a change. Create a work schedule and stick to it. This will free up your evenings and weekends to connect with your family or to find time for meeting with friends.
Join a Gym
Staying active is a great way to feel better about yourself and also to meet others. If you’re feeling isolated while working from home, join a gym and take part in the gym’s exercising classes. Early morning group workouts are great opportunities to jumpstart the day and will also help you feel more connected to others.
Find Other Telecommuters
In-office workers likely won’t have much sympathy for your complaints of isolation while telecommuting. If possible, find other telecommuters in your community and begin meeting regularly with them at a local restaurant or coffeehouse. These gatherings will be prime opportunities to maintain your social life while connecting with others in similar work situations.
Working from home has its advantages but the isolation it brings can be a major drawback. By defining your work hours and by finding ways to stay connected with others, you’ll be happier in many areas of life and will also be a more successful telecommuter.