Working from home can be a lonely and isolating experience if you let it. Here are some ways to ensure you don’t go crazy.
1. Have some animals in your house. It’s easy to sit on your butt for 10 hours, but cats and dogs will bother you for food and attention. Animals force you to get up and away from the computer about 100 times an hour.
2. Talk to somebody new each day. There are periods of time when I only talk to my husband and my cats, which is unhealthy. I can feel my brain grow mushy. Set the goal of speaking to one new person each day to ensure that your conversational skills don’t shrink.
3. Keep the TV off. There’s nothing more depressing and isolating than watching daytime television.
4. Eat lunch outside of your home when you can. Even when I’m eating by myself, it still forces me to interact with the world.
5. Run at least one errand each day during business hours. First of all, it feels good to be out when other chumps are working. Suckers! But, more importantly, run your errands when your productivity levels are low. Get off the internet. Why not make use of your downtime by hitting the dry cleaners or the gym?
6. Volunteer during the day. You have a minute. You can be helpful. Not-for-profits love it when people have free time during business hours.
7. Have a Skype date. Do you hate video conferencing? Do you hate looking at the screen like a hostage victim? Yeah, Skype and Google Hangouts are universally wonky and unflattering. Get on there, anyway, and make eye contact with someone.
8. Join a local association. There are thousands of people just like us — working from home, sitting around, and not talking to anybody. Many organizations host meetings, breakfasts, networking opportunities, and all sorts of structured ways to interact with people without wasting a lot of time. And sometimes it’s nice to have a free meal and learn something new, too.
Working from home is awesome, but being alone all day can manifest agoraphobic behaviors in even the most extroverted people.
Get out, get moving, and get talking to other human beings. Don’t be like me — the kind of unhealthy woman who prefers talking to her cats over people.
Although my cats are awesome and pretty. Just listen. They’ll tell you so!
I also suggest playing music you like in the background when you’re not on the phone.