Are you a writer who works from home? If yes, then you’ll know that it can sometimes be a lonely and isolated way of life.
To be fair, homeworking definitely has its benefits. For instance, you may find that you can concentrate better on your writing. Additionally, you no doubt enjoy the comfort of working from home – and of course the lack of tiresome (and often expensive) commuting.
But, let’s be honest, there are some undeniable downsides to homeworking.
My aim in this article is to reveal the negatives, and then give you practical ways to conquer them.
Why Working from Home Can Affect Your Well-Being
I can talk from direct experience on this matter, as I have worked full-time in an office, full-time at home, and also a combination of these two.
At first, working from home seemed like the perfect arrangement. I was free from my office hours, free from management, and seemingly free to do whatever I pleased!
The first few weeks definitely had a certain charm. I was hooked.
If you were to have asked me then if I enjoyed working from home – my answer would have been a positive YES! However, as the weeks went by, I discovered that working from home started to become far less appealing.
Specifically, I found myself beginning to suffer from the following issues:
- I often felt lonely.
- I missed having work colleagues to chat to.
- I lost my discipline.
- I struggled with motivation.
- I developed cabin fever.
It hadn’t taken me long to reach the stage where the isolation was causing me noticeable emotional and mental stress. And to be truthful, the quality and rate of my work output began suffering too.
My dream of working from home had been realised, but now it had begun feeling more like a nightmare.
Strategies That Can Help You
I’m sure you’re familiar with the old English proverb:
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
It’s a fantastic proverb, and one that often comes into my mind, as it did when I was mulling over the issues I was having.
The problem was clear to me: loneliness due to working from home. But rather than just pack my job in and go back to working in an office, I became determined to find solutions that would reduce my feelings of isolation.
Over time, I discovered seven strategies that significantly helped make working from home more pleasant, productive and healthy.
These are my recommendations:
- Listen to music while working.
- Chat with colleagues, friends and family throughout the day via social media.
- Work in coffee shops for part of the day or week.
- Go out to a cafe or restaurant for lunch.
- Hire a hot desk – so you can work with others (this can be part-time).
- Get yourself a pet, such as a cat or dog (or both!).
- Socialise with friends and family outside of your working hours.
The above strategies definitely helped me to address issues around loneliness.
I’m sure they can help you too.
The Magic Key Is Balance
Homeworking sounds glamorous, but if you’re not careful, you can quickly begin to suffer from the negative effects of isolation and loneliness.
However, if you implement some (or all) of the above strategies, then working from home can still be a positive and rewarding experience.
The magic key, as with many things in life, is to find the perfect balance. For you, it may be that you choose to work a couple of days a week in an office, and then spend your other working days at home. We’re all different, so it really does depend on your personal preferences.
One thing is for sure though, many writers say they do their best work from home. You may be one of them.
Important: If you feel you’re suffering from severe loneliness (or even depression), please don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A good place to start is: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/loneliness/