More than 8 million people (5.2 percent of Americans) work remotely in the United States today, according to data by the US Census Bureau. And this number has been steadily increasing since 2016, when remote workers made up just 5 percent of the population, and in 2000, when they counted for just 3.3 percent.
We’re here to bring you seven tips for fighting the inevitable feelings of isolation that comes from sitting at home by yourself all day staring at the computer screen. In order to avoid the negative side of solitude, follow these pieces of advice:
1. Actually leave your house.
This may seem obvious — but step outside for a bit. If you’re able to, break up your day. Spend your morning in the coffee shop and your afternoon in your office. If you don’t want to leave your home, spend a few hours working at the kitchen table, a few hours working in the living room, a few hours sitting at your desk. Change up your scenery so you don’t feel like you’re slumped in one isolated location all day.
2. Meet someone for lunch.
Take your lunch break outside of your home (if you can). Meet a friend at a nearby cafe, talk about your days, or meet a business associate and discuss work-related subjects.
3. Work from home with a friend.
If you know someone else who struggles with this kind of home workplace isolation, invite them over and work from home together! You can be social and lose that empty feeling of loneliness all while being productive. If you don't have any friends who work from home, consider joining an online community for people who work from home and networking to find a new home office friend.
4. Get a pet.
Even having an animal to keep you company can help with feelings of loneliness. Animals have been proven to relieve signs of stress and depression in humans. And don’t think you need to adopt a highly dependent pet like a dog; you can always opt for a more low maintenance animal like a cat or a fish if you aren't up for taking care of a more hands-on pet.
5. Take a break to do something you enjoy.
Spend your break doing a hobby of yours that can easily fit into your day, like going to the gym, reading, writing, watching a documentary, cooking, or other close to home activities. You can even go on a run outside or walk your dog. Do whatever you enjoy doing to take your mind off of work and bring a little joy to your day.
6. Consider joining a co-working space.
Although co-working spaces cost money, it may be an expense you’re willing to make if you truly cannot stand the loneliness of working from home. Co-working spaces provide you with the office environment you might be craving, and they also can provide resources you won’t get from working at your own home. A lot of places provide networking opportunities, meet-and-greets with people in your field, happy hours and more.