By Holly Reisem Hanna
A few months ago I wrote a post on The Mogul Mom about how to overcome feelings of isolation when you’re working from home. While the post touches on aspects that one can do to intertwine some socialization into their lives, it doesn’t dig deep into the topic.
Just the other day, I received an email from a young man, who needed some more ideas and suggestions on how to beat work at home depression and isolation. You see, for people like me (married, mother working part-time) it’s fairly easy to fit in daily socialization into my life; from play-dates and volunteering at school, to dates with my husband, and gatherings with friends and family. But for those of you, who work long hours, are empty nesters, divorced or single – it may be harder to fit in and find the interaction that you need.
Here are some ideas and ways for you to beat work at home depression and add some socialization into your life.
Start a Work Group
Remember in college or high school when you would study for a test in a study group – same concept but now for socialization purposes. Find other individuals in your area who work at home and see if they are interested in meeting weekly or monthly for a work group.
Now you’re asking me – “where do I meet these virtual employees and business owners”? Online, start by joining LinkedIn and Facebook. I was able to join my universities’ alumni group on LinkedIn and have since met another work at home entrepreneur, who I now call my friend. Need more ideas on where to find people – check out Meetup. Here you can search for local groups by the topic and location.
Once you’ve met a friend or two, schedule your monthly or weekly work group and here are 8 ideas on where you can meet.
Join a Club or Class
Whether your passion is working out or reading books there’s a club or class for your specific interest. Check out your local newspaper and universities for events, classes and club listings, as well as sites like Meetup and Eventbrite. Also try looking at specific niche stores that correlate to your interest; here in Austin, our shoe store for runners offers group marathon training – you may need to think outside the box to find the right class or club for you. By joining a club or class will not only get you out of the house, but it will introduce to new people that have similar interests.
Work in a Co-op
Due to the fact that more and more individuals are working from home and feeling isolated, work co-ops are popping up everywhere. Here you can work in an office type environment, getting access to things like WiFi, printers, conference rooms, and fax machines. You can choose to work is this space by the hour, day, week, or month for a set fee. Not sure where to find a work coop – try looking at OpenDesks, they can help you find, share and manage places to work and meet new individuals.
While nothing beats good old face to face interaction, online socialization can be great filler for when you’re unable to meet in person. With the explosion of social networking sites there is no shortage for online places to meet new individuals. A few of my faves are Twitter, Facebook, Mom Bloggers Club and Social Moms, but if you’re looking for a more niched site, just try Googling what you’re looking for – there’s a good chance you’ll find exactly what you’re searching for.
- Not into the whole social networking thing? Try joining some work at home forums where you can connect with others who are experiencing the same struggles and challenges as yourself.
- Want more focused conversation? Try attending a free webinar, teleconference or Twitter Party. Here you can openly discuss a specific topic and receive feedback from the other participants. If you decide you like the format you can try out a paid program or mastermind group.
- Single and feeling lonely? Give online dating a whirl – don’t laugh, before I met my husband, I tried online dating and it was a fantastic way to meet new people that I would have never met otherwise. While I didn’t meet my husband through online dating, I did get to go out on a lot of dates and with all of the new dating sites out there, I’m sure you can find one that suits your needs.
- Share your feelings and thoughts with others through blogging. Blogging not only allows you to share your thoughts with the world, but readers can also leave comments and conversations can begin. I can't tell you how many people I have met through blogging – not to mention that it's fun and very social.
Reach Out to Friends and Family
Your friends and family are the people who love and care about you the most, reach out to them and let them know what you're going through. By opening up to those who are closest to you, you are then able to receive the support that you need.
While working at home has many positive attributes, it also comes with numerous challenges, isolation and depression being some of them. When you start to feel lonely and isolated, make it a priority to get out of the house and seek the support and assistance that you need.