Isolation When Working From Home

I just received my copy of the new book Out of Office: How to Work from Home, Telecommute, or Workshift Successfully  by Simon Salt. I purchased this book not just because it interested me but also because I’m quoted in it!

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Isolation

My quote is on page 62, in the section on “isolation” when working from home. I shared:

“The single biggest challenge for me has been that there is isolation when working alone at home. This is how I work best and tends to be what I prefer. However, it gets to a point where you are spending way too much time alone and this is not only a negative thing socially but also ends up being bad for your work because you just don’t get the creativity and stimulation that you need to be pushing yourself forward in the job.”

What To Do About It

The author goes on to write in paragraph form about ways to deal with this issue when working from home. He incorporates some of the ideas that I shared with him as well as some thoughts of his own.

Here’s what I’d shared (that isn’t in the book specifically in this way):

  • Get involved in collaborative projects. I seek out short-term projects that I can do in collaboration with others. These often aren’t the most lucrative in terms of payment but they are creaively fulfilling and intellectually stimulating. These can be online or in-person projects and both seem to work equally well even though with online projects I’m still working from home.
  • Attend networking events. This is a great way to meet people from a variety of different backgrounds and be challenged to think in new ways about my work. Conferences and small business classes offer something comparable.
  • Actively engage in an out-of-home social life. This links to another problem I’ve had which is that I tend to be something of a workaholic who doesn’t take enough downtime since work is always there at home to be done. Making sure that I’m social out of the house gives me downtime and ends theisolation so that I can be fresh for work the next day.

My Experience

Finally, I added (also not quoted):

“I have tried co-work spaces, working at coffee shops, etc. and that never really works for me. When I am working on my own projects I really need to be at home, in my space, in my routine, doing my thing. By adding in additional projects and activities I’m able to meet my own social/intellectual needs without sacrificing my work.”

The Book

Salt’s book is a practical guide for working from home. It’s especially for people who haven’t done this before or who are fairly new to it as it provides a pretty step-by-step description of the ups and downs. I haven’t read through it all yet, just flipped through it, but it looks like there are also a few gems that us longtime stay-at-home-workers can also enjoy. I appreciate that he took the time to consult a lot of us about our own real life experiences and I think that this is especially adds to the book.

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1 comments
Jodiebodie
Jodiebodie

Hi Kathryn, Congratulations on being quoted in another publication! :-)

We have a few things in common - I used to work from home too (when my children were small). I can agree with your sentiments above.  I found a strict routine helped to reduce work pressures and also social pressures from friends and family who assumed that, because I worked from home, I was available all day! 

Social appointments were scheduled for times when I would naturally need a break in the day so that my most productive hours weren't interrupted.  I kept in regular contact with colleagues and collaborated when the opportunity arose.  I loved my client contact and made the effort to meet in person where practicable (a lot of my work came electronically).  I took on the occasional outside contract where I worked in the clients' offices with their teams which was lovely for social interaction. Making a routine and defining boundaries helped to balance the work-life demands but also ensured that regular social contact was scheduled and maintained. 

I hope this helps others who are working from home.

Cheers