The Ultimate Guide to Tackling Remote Work Isolation

I couldn’t wait to no longer interact with anyone when I first took the leap into the freelancing world.
I’d seen it all.
Most office environments felt like school playgrounds. The different cliques, the bitchy comments and whispering, and the full-on bullying of other staff members if they didn’t fit the mold.
My last job before I began working from home consisted of my boss and another colleague. And I even had my own office. It was as close as I could get to work from home and I felt pretty comfortable.
That was until said other colleagues began causing major problems, making my working days a living hell. Enough was enough, and I swanned on out of there with the biggest grin on my face. I was finally going to be free from other people. Hurrah.

Only, after a few works of living my ultimate dream life, it started to hit me. Whilst I loved having zero interruptions or people breathing down my neck, I still craved some form of human interaction during my working week.
Sometimes you need someone, doing similar work to you, to bounce ideas off. And my cats just weren’t cutting the mustard.
Those times where you question if you’re doing a really shit job, or if it’s just that the instructions weren’t that clear or that someone’s simply having a bad day. You go through all those motions by yourself.
And even when my husband is in the house, it’s not quite the same. He’s not in my world. He fights fires for a living, whilst I fight metaphorical ones.

There was a time when all I wanted to do was spend time by myself. People would invite me to do things in the evenings or weekends and I’d turn them down so I could focus on some all-important ‘me-time’.
Now, I’m the complete opposite. I constantly invite myself to places and outstay my welcome.
And I’ve come to the conclusion, I’ve probably been feeling lonely without even realizing it and I need to keep making the effort to get out and connect with people — as much as I can.
So the question remains, how can we tackle these feelings of loneliness and isolation as remote workers?

Consider not always working from home

Whilst some of us have been forced into remote working, the rest of us have chosen this way of life, and for good reason. We no longer wanted the office commute, the early morning starts (unless of course, we’re natural early risers — who are you people?), and the days where we can be like, do you know what, I’m not getting dressed today.
And whilst all of this is great, it still doesn’t solve the loneliness issue. Think about, even if only once or twice a week, leaving your little hermit hole and braving it into the big wide world — or the coffee shop down the street. Even better if you’ve got a co-working space nearby. Sometimes, all we need is a bit of a change in the environment, and a friendly face or two.

Or at least get out of the house each day

If the above doesn’t quite appeal to you and you’re set on staying within the confines of your home office, it’s still a good idea to get out of the house and away from your desk each day. Stretch your legs, go for a walk, grab a morning coffee, or nip into the corner shop. Heck, go all out and meet a friend for lunch. You’ve earned it.

Pick up the phone

In an increasingly digitally-minded world, we’re used to having most of our conversations over instant messaging channels and email. When was the last time you actually picked the phone up to speak to someone? If you’re struggling to remember or if you don’t do it often enough, this is a habit you might need to change. Granted, some of us may be ‘Zoomed out’ from an overkill of video calls, but seeing facial expressions is even more personal than a phone call and can be a great option when you’re feeling a hint of isolation.

Find your tribe online

There’s a huge online community out there with millions of people just a keystroke away. It doesn’t matter what you do, there will always be the right niche of people waiting to connect with you. You’ve just got to make the effort to find them. Social media is your best friend here. Quit the mindless scrolling and instead spend your time joining online communities, groups, and forums where you can chat with like-minded individuals.

Make plans outside of work

If you’re spending all day on your own, the last thing you want to do is spend every single evening and weekend alone too. Granted you may have a significant other like I do, but even if that’s the case, you can still feel pretty isolated and energy-less if you’re not doing much. It’s much easier to get through the working day if you know you have something to look forward to and a face to see once you’re done.

Working from home can take some getting to grips with, and there are no ‘one-size fits all’. Keep going, try different strategies, and you’ll eventually find your way.
“Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.”
― Honoré de Balzac
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