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Top 10 Tips to Avoid Isolation and Loneliness when Working Remotely

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More and more people make the transition from the cubicle to working remotely and being able to work from home is a dream for millions of people. If you read the literature, you might think that working from home is a breeze. But not for everyone!

But even though this lifestyle has incredible benefits in terms of quality of life and productivity, isolation and loneliness are the hidden dangers of remote jobs.

There’s research from the Imperial College, London that creative professionals  are remiss because they tend to crave the family-like  collegial interdependence that a traditional in office environment can provide. They feel less like family and more like “worker” bees. Further, some researchers suggest that remote working teams are at a disadvantage when working from home due to the difficulties of accessing the collective synergies of their peers or the “state of flow” when interacting face to face with their colleagues.

If you are in agreement with these two studies, please continue reading. When you work from home or your local café, the human interaction is minimal, and it might make you feel isolated and alone.

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In many cases, this leads to decreased productivity and even depression, so here are 10 tips for making it work as a remote worker without feeling lonely and isolated.

1. Socialize online

Face-to-face interaction can’t be beaten, but virtual socialization is a good alternative when you can’t meet your co-workers in person. Whether you’re socializing with other members of your team or are looking to meet new like-minded individuals, there’s no shortage of platforms to do so.

From Twitter weekly chats to Facebook groups where remote workers meet to discuss, there are plenty of options to connect with people with a similar lifestyle.

2. Work outside the house

Don’ take the “work from home” status literally. There’s no need to be chained to your home office desk all day long. Instead, try working out of the local coffee shops a couple of times a week.

If you need a quieter place so you can be sure you’re meeting your deadlines, check out the local library. Alternatively, you can look into renting a desk in a coworking space to get that “office feel.”

3. Socialize with family and friends after work

It’s very tempting to crash in front of the TV after you finish work, but if you do that every day, you’re going to feel more and more isolated. No amount of Netflix can replace human connection, so make plans with friends and family during the week. Don’t plan all your social life for the weekend; instead, make room for activities or just a chat several days a week.

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4. Attend a meet-up around common interests

Find local meet-ups that focus on your interests. Whether you’re into hiking, cycling or reading books, join a group and get out of the house to meet with people who love the same things as you.

5. Make your flexible schedule work in your favour

One of the main benefits of working remotely is that you don’t have to refuse an invitation from a neighbour or a family member because you’re at work. Grab a cup of coffee with your sister while she’s waiting for the kids to finish the piano lesson or bring your dog to the park at lunch time.

6. Book a full-time coworking space

Some people are simply more productive when they work surrounded by other people. If you’re a remote worker, you don’t necessarily have to work from home or out of coffee shops. Instead, you can rent a desk or even an office in a coworking space.

Coworking spaces are more than just places where you can get a desk and fast broadband. They are ideal for freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to meet like-minded individuals and have a place to go to every morning. Most coworking places offer discounted rates for monthly subscriptions and you also get lots of extra perks, such as unlimited tea and coffee and bike racks so you can cycle to work.

7. Get out of the house at least once a day

When you’re working from home, it’s very easy to forget to get out for some fresh air for days. Even if you don’t talk to anyone, it’s always a good idea to get out of the house every day. Some people find it difficult to get out for no reason, so if you have everything delivered and don’t have dogs to walk, try to invent reasons to get out.

Walk to the nearest supermarket to get a missing ingredient, go for a run, or simply walk to the coffee shop every morning even if you have coffee at home.

8. Take a longer break

Most remote workers work every day without a break, sometimes even on the weekends. If you feel like you’re never not working, take one or two days off once in a while. They don’t have to be over the weekend (one of the benefits of being a remote worker).

Take the family for a day out or simply go shopping in another city. Whatever you choose to do, leave work and all thoughts of work at home. This includes checking your email every hour.

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9. Get a dog

If you don’t already have one, think about getting a dog. This is an especially good idea if you don’t have anywhere to go during the day. Walking your dog provides you with an excellent reason to get out of the house every day. Not to mention that it has been shown that people with dogs don’t feel as lonely even if they don’t have much human contact.

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10. Volunteer once a week

Some freelancers like to get a part-time job in a brick and mortar place because they don’t want to lose touch with the outside world. If that sounds as too much of a commitment (after all, you don’t want to lose your freedom, otherwise you’d work in an office), you can find a place to volunteer once a week.

From working with kids, animal shelters or firefighting, there are lots of opportunities to volunteer no matter where you live. Find a cause that’s important to you and dedicate it a couple of hours a week. Not only will you get out of the house and talk to people, but you’ll also make a valuable contribution to the community.

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