I have been working from a home office for over a decade. With the changes put in place right now and so many people being asked to work from home for the first time, cabin fever is going to become a very real thing. There are a lot of articles about how to be productive, how to set up a home office, etc. And I may write one of those too, soon. But I really wanted to address how to stay connected, in this one.
If you are used to an office environment, whether it is a sea of cubicles, or just you and one other person, transitioning to working from home can be a challenge. Here are a few things that I have done over the years in order to fight the feeling of isolation.
1 – Schedule social media chat time. In order to be productive, you may need to reduce distractions by shutting off notifications from your various social media accounts. However, scheduling a “coffee break” with a friend or co-worker who is also working from home through any of the numerous chat or even texting options will allow you that break and some interaction. It can be as easy as texting or emailing a friend/co-worker and saying “Taking a 10-minute break at 10am, are you available to chat? Meet me on messenger”
2- Schedule video meeting with clients. Would you normally go to a client’s office to meet? Look into Zoom, or GoToMeeting, or Google Hangouts, and I’m sure there are many more. Instead of chatting on the phone, send them a link, they can use a laptop, smartphone, or tablet and you can meet face to face. It allows for that interaction and in some cases a more efficient and productive meeting. There are options to share screens so you can both look at the same document, graph, image and interact like you were sitting in the same office.
3 – Schedule video meetings with co-workers or employees. Instead of calling each other or just emailing updates back and forth. Schedule a 30-minute check-in through the same platforms as suggested above. Have a short agenda and update each other on projects, work, pipelines, etc.
4 – Get outside, even for just 10 minutes. Without a commute, you may find yourself realizing that you haven’t been outside in a day or more. No matter how cozy, comfortable, fabulous your home or home office is, you will get tired of those walls. Take 10 minutes and go outside. Sit on your porch or patio while you listen to your voice mails, walk around your backyard, go to the mailbox, wave at your neighbor who you’ve never seen before because you were both always out working.
Taking care of yourself is a vital part of having a successful business. Maintaining interpersonal connections in an integral part of that self-care. Add some, or all, of these to your daily schedule so you don’t find yourself feeling lost and alone.
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