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How to Deal with the Isolation of Working from Home

 

If you are a WAHM, at some point you will have to deal with the isolation that working from home brings. On the one hand, you are spared office politics, endlessly boring meetings and various time wasters. But on the other hand, these very same time-wasters form the core of workplace socialization.

By working from home, you miss out on these perks of office life: casual chats, coffee breaks and lunches out. So, how best to cope with loneliness and feelings of isolation? Following are some ideas for beating the work-from-home blues:

Schedule Lunch and Coffee Dates

Make a point of getting out of the house during the day and connect with your family, friends and colleagues. A lunch or coffee date gives you a little something to look forward to, and helps you stay in touch with others.

Use Social Forms of Communication

Whenever possible, use social forms of communication. For example, pick up the phone and call when you could send an email or fax. Or, drop by and see someone while you are out running errands. Though this may feel like a waste of time, these social visits help to beat loneliness. In addition, the "social visit" can help you interact more closely with a client, forging a closer bond.

IM in Down Time

IM is a total waste of time when you have a deadline, but if you have a slow day, what's the harm? The important thing is to not let it take over your entire life, so be sure to set time limits. But, a few chats sessions with friends can really lift your mood.

Go Someplace Else

Try taking your work with you to a different location. Several coffee houses and fast-food restaurants offer free WiFi: grab your laptop and a latte, and you are set. The public library is another good resource for free WiFi, plus you can read up on the latest trends in your industry while you are there. You might even look into renting a cubicle or office space; check Craigslist or your local paper for possible leads.

Break Up Your Day

As a WAHM, you can choose to take advantage of the "24-hour workday," which means you can clock in at any time, not just 9 to 5. If you have been at your desk for too long, break up your day with a trip to the gym. Volunteer at your child's school or at a charity that resonates personally with you. Get out of the house and do the grocery shopping, or schedule a hair and nail appointment during the day. Not only does this get you out of the house, it also gives you the opportunity to network with others. Who knows? You might meet someone who can use your services.

Take a close look at your typical workday and ask yourself how you can arrange things to make it a more festive, social day. By deliberately cultivating social time into your work life, you can keep loneliness and isolation at bay. All it takes is a little creative thinking and planning.

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Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.

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