Transitioning to working from home can be a huge change for many people, especially those who have had that connected office experience their whole lives. However, it is something that you can get used to. What is important is to dispel your expectations that it will be a perfect situation and to prepare yourself for the difficulties that are likely to disturb you. If you can do that, then there is no reason to fear a feeling of isolation. We fear what we do not understand, so make an effort to understand as much as you can yourself and the situation you are walking into when preparing to work from home. Loneliness is a major problem, so understand the difficulties early.
Can I be an Introvert and Work from Home?
“I’m an Introvert, so I’ll be Fine.”
This is the wrong attitude to have about going into working from home. You may think that you would be better off if you were the only person you ever had to deal with again, but you would make yourself crazier than anyone else ever could.
As the Huffington Post describes, introverts do not completely dislike being around people. Being introverted does mean you need your space now and then, more often than extroverts of course, but it does not mean that you will be perfectly fine without any social interaction. Do not be overconfident in thinking that all of your problems will be solved just because there is no one left to cause you problems.
It is also likely that you will still be dealing with people while working from home, but only in a less intimate circumstance. If you are working a remote call center, you will certainly have plenty of social interaction but will also receive plenty of abuse from people who can hide behind a telephone.
You will also be able to disconnect yourself from the humanity of others. This can be a huge negative as it will teach you to simply harbor bad thoughts about others and not deal with such issues. It can stop you from treating your actual friends and family with respect, and can even start you ignoring them completely.
The simple truth is that you may be introverted and still perfectly capable of feeling lonely. That is not a negative condition; it is a human condition.
Therefore, what you need to do is be prepared for the life of remote-working. Understand what may be your struggles, and seek out the knowledge that will help you through them.
I am Worried about Losing the Office Camaraderie
You may not be overconfident about your ability to handle remote-working. You may be concerned about working without coworkers to keep you motivated and encouraged throughout the day. Sometimes your coworkers can leave you feeling stressed and annoyed, possibly even overworked or abused. However, there are always those coworkers that lift you up and leave you feeling ready to get more work done with a better attitude. How do you cope with an office that no longer as that positivity to uplift you during those moments of stress? After all, there may not be any more coworkers sharing the office, but there will still be plenty of stress for your job.
Office communication tools
When you are looking at starting one of these exciting remote office jobs, ask about how you will communicate with the rest of your coworkers. Will there be an instant messenger system for employees only? Will there be regular video conferences?
Interact with your fellow remote coworkers
If these tools are available for your office, you may find that you talk to you coworkers even more often than you had in a traditional office. You may find yourself needing that opportunity to have a bit of catching up more regularly, and you may enjoy the chance to socialize with these people who you do not see on a regular basis.
Keep involved with your company
If your company has any social networking or even educational events, make sure you to take those opportunities to connect to your colleagues. Whether it is a company-hosted pizza party or a Bible study or Super Bowl party hosted by a coworker, if you have even a passing interest, you should take the time to attend the event. The opportunity to develop a bit of camaraderie with these other coworkers will do wonders for your motivation and help you to redevelop that sense of encouragement you may have missed from a traditional office.
How do I find a Date?
Maybe this question brings out a small laugh from some of you who have already handled this issue with marriage or who are plenty well-acquainted with how to get out and find a date. However, there are plenty of people transitioning to working from home who may be young or shy or just inexperienced with dating. If this is you, we will try to offer a few tips without turning this into a Dr. Love special.
Join associations and clubs
Any sort of association you can join whether it is related to your company or not is a great idea. If you are into reading but wish you had someone to discuss a book with, join a book club. You can find local book clubs at Readers Circle. Consider looking into a community service organization. If your priority is meeting a nice partner, this is one of the most consistent ways, and the concession prize is likely meeting lifelong friends and at the least doing something good for others. To find some service opportunities near you, check out JustServe.
Prioritize going to events for networking
If you are in an at-home career that requires going out to find clients and connections, then you should already be acquainted with local networking events. If you are not, prioritize finding them. As a real estate agent, I made sure to go out and meet a few people at these events, and I found that it was always beneficial. You may not always find a client, and you may not always find a date either, but you will find someone. The people that attend these things are there to meet people, so if you go, they will often go out of their way to introduce themselves to you. The important part, then, is simply to attend, have a beer, and look bored. To find some events if you do not know any, consider checking out Meetup.
The nice thing about looking for a date is it often leads to finding friends instead. This is essential as well. Gaining friends as someone who lacks the office experience to seek socialization can be a huge boon to keeping you sane.
Along with seeking new friends, the most important thing you can do to remain joyful as someone working from home is to continue to build relationships with the friends and family you already have. This is one of the most essential pieces to taking care of the Seven Dimensions of Wellness. Occupational wellness is important, and it is hopefully one of the reasons you are moving to this new career working from home. Emotional and social wellness matter just as much though, so prioritize those by making time for your relationships with your family and friends.
Schedule lunch dates, catch up in person as well as on the phone, and tell your friends and family how you are feeling from day to day. Tell them how you are feeling about your new career, your fears as well as what excites you.
If you still feel lonely throughout the day and truly need someone around to keep you company but not so much that you are always tempted to chit chat through the shift, consider a pet. A dog or a cat around might be all you need to have some sense of peace and companionship. A dog in particular will force you to get out of the house often enough to take them out, which is a good by itself. It does not provide real social interaction though, so do not get a pet and think that all of your loneliness problems will be solved right there. At the end of the day, humans need human interaction. Pets are wonderful, but they are not humans.
Health and Wellness, Inside and Out
We mentioned the seven dimensions of wellness earlier, and we will cover them more fully now. It is important to take care of yourself in terms of the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and occupational. All of these are important, and everyone fails to take care of one of these areas. Most importantly of all, all of these checkmarks will help you to stave off any feelings of isolation by making sure that you are healthy.
Occupational wellness should be the easiest point to talk about for this particular article. If you are changing to working from home, then you have likely made an occupational change to find a better career path. However, it is certainly possible that you are making that change due to needing to be at home for other reasons, or simply for financial gain.
Having occupational wellness means more than financial gain though, and it certainly means more than making a career change for convenience. Having occupational wellness means feeling fulfilled by your career. It does not mean you need to feel like you change the world by your work. However, you will sometimes need to feel that your work does something to feel fulfilled by it, and being challenged by your work occasionally helps fantastically with this.
We discussed the importance of social interaction much already. To rehash, make time for your friends and family. Schedule time to make phone calls to catch up, and schedule more time to see them in person. Get out of the house, go to events with them, and depend on them for support. It helps them as much as it helps you, so do not be ashamed to ask for an ear for your problems.
Emotional wellness, like many of these issues, is of course far too large to tackle in a paragraph or two. Dealing with depression can be a lifelong battle for many, but it is a battle that can be won. It is also worth mentioning that many people who do not suffer from chronic depression do often neglect their emotional wellness.
Taking care of the other areas of emotional wellness of course do much for emotional wellness, but there are purely emotional battles to be fought as well. Often, the biggest fight is learning to forgive yourself for things you have done wrong. Even if your mistakes have been huge, it is vital to seek the forgiveness of others and to forgive yourself. This will bring you peace from those mistakes. Past that, seek support from others, and provide it as well, though not to the extent that it endlessly stresses you. Speaking of stress, here are a few tips on how to deal with stress effectively and simply.
Without getting too deep into spirituality and faith, people need a sense of spiritual wellness. Many forms of prayer and meditation can develop this wellness, and they are found in all different religions. Learning to live in the present is also a huge step to developing spiritual wellness as it focuses you on what you can actively do rather than on the guilt of the past or the stress of the future.
Intellectual wellness takes many forms, and of course, many people are at different stages with it as they are with all of the dimensions of wellness. Taking the time to read or learn something continues to train your brain. Graduating from school does not give you the excuse to quit learning any more than leaving your parents’ home excuses you from keeping your room clean and making your bed.
You did remember to clean your room and make your bed, right? Something like this may seem like nagging, but it is important. Having an orderly home, and especially an orderly home office, reduces stress and increases productivity. It keeps you from the feelings of what you need to do or have failed to do, and it reinforces that attention to detail that is important in every aspect of life.
Many people’s response to others’ struggles with depression is to simply get out and exercise. While that is horribly insufficient and diminishes an expansive and complex problem to a thoughtless solution, there is truth that exercise helps your health in many ways. Those who are not active would certainly do well from regular exercise, especially something they enjoyed. It keeps your body and mind sharp, and keeps your blood pumping well.
Those who are active know this is true when they experience a serious injury. It is easy to get depressed quickly due to feeling insubstantial because of a debilitation. Therefore, injuries need to be dealt with. Do not put off going to the doctor, potentially having surgery or physical therapy. Do not be strong and just deal with the pain. Be strong enough to deal with real recovery, and become stronger after.