For many entrepreneurs, running a business out of their home is a dream come true. The choice to operate a home-based company comes with perks like a flexible schedule, lower operating costs, and the ability to quickly scale the enterprise up or down, but the opportunity also comes with challenges.
One of the biggest challenges faced by professionals who have a home-based business (or anyone who primarily works from home) is the feeling of loneliness that can come from working in solitude. The lack of social interaction that often accompanies working from home or operating a home-based business can negatively impact your productivity and reduce your job satisfaction. To combat the effects of loneliness, consider the following helpful tips for keeping your spirits up when you’re working from home:
Schedule breaks into your day.
Split up your day with breaks to clear your mind and keep yourself feeling positive about your work. Getting out of your home office and staying away from your computer and phone during these breaks is a great way to recharge and come back to your work fresh after working inside alone for a prolonged period of time. It can also be a good idea during your breaks to chat with any neighbors or family that may be around at the time to give yourself some socialization. Some professionals recommend a small break every hour and a half or so, while others suggest taking smaller breaks with one hour-long or two-hour-long break midday.
Establish an exercise routine.
Getting into the habit of daily exercise can elevate your mood and offer another way to break up solitary periods during your workday, especially if you participate in regular group exercise classes or just work out on a machine at the gym. While exercise represents a time commitment, it both helps combat the effects of working a sedentary job while also providing an opportunity to socialize.
Change your environment.
Boredom and monotony may contribute to feelings of increased loneliness, but these feelings can be reduced if you change up your office or workspace every once in a while. This can mean moving your laptop to another area of your home some days, such as the patio, or by taking your work to a public place where you can access WiFi, such as a coffee shop, library, or restaurant. Even if you don’t interact directly with many people when you work in public, just being around others can make you feel less lonely. Overall, changing your location can add novelty to your days and stave off feelings of boredom and disconnection.
While you shouldn’t make a habit of spending excessive time on social media during the workday, taking time over the course of the day to have small, thoughtful online interactions with friends and family can help you feel more connected. Have a chat with a friend during the day when you begin to feel lonely, but make sure you set parameters ahead of time for how long and how often you can chat without slowing your productivity. When it’s time to get off social media and concentrate, you should be able to train all of your focus on your work.
Add audio to your office.
Just because you operate a business alone from home doesn’t mean that you need to spend your day in total silence. Consider playing music softly in the background while you work; if you’re easily distracted, try classical or any other genre of music without lyrics, or songs with lyrics in a language you don’t understand. You might also turn on an upbeat TV show in another room to create a backdrop of white noise. Having some kind of sound in the background while you work can make you feel less lonely and less bored while you complete different tasks.
Have a routine meet-up with other entrepreneurs.
Even if you’re the sole employee of your business, there are bound to be other entrepreneurs in your city who work within your industry and are interested in making professional connections. You can locate groups for professionals using sites like Meetup.com, LinkedIn, or even Facebook. If you can’t find a group that you’re interested in joining or if no one has created a group for entrepreneurs in your area, you can start one yourself. Incorporating weekly meet-ups of this nature into your schedule will provide the professional social interactions you need to reduce loneliness and give you something to look forward to as your week progresses.
Engage in volunteer work.
One of the perks of being an entrepreneur is that you become your own boss, which allows you to set your own schedule. You can make use of this flexibility in your workday by incorporating activities like volunteer work into your schedule. Volunteering will not only provide an outlet for connecting with other people and combating loneliness, but it will also allow you to give back to those in need and may help you feel an overall greater sense of fulfillment in your life.
Look into shared workspaces.
If you’ve tried and failed to overcome intense feelings of loneliness as a home-based entrepreneur, you do have other options. While it can save you a significant amount of money to exclusively work at home, there are affordable alternatives to this arrangement. For example, look into renting a desk at a local shared workspace. Shared workspaces give professionals the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs working in a wide range of industries. Relocating from your home to a shared workspace can give you the freedom of working on a solitary entrepreneurial venture with the social benefits of working in a traditional office.