4 Ways to Socialize When You Work Alone
Undo the deadbolt, turn the knob and let the socialization begin!
There are many positive aspects to working from home—the flexible hours, the comfort and personal space, the time with children. There are, however, a couple of less-than-ideal aspects that work-at-homers need to address, such as social contact. Our social lives are integral parts of our well-being and need to be nurtured, according to Linda Sapadin, a Valley Stream, N.Y.-based clinical psychologist, author and motivational speaker. “If you are working from home, you are at higher risk for feeling emotionally isolated, anxious and depressed,” she says. “We all need social interaction. Hence, it's important for you to consciously create connections with other people during each work day.”
While in an office you’re surrounded by colleagues and managers just by happenstance, when you work at home you need to put a little extra effort into the socialization front. Here’s how:
Join or start a club.
From craigslist.org to meetup.com, the Internet is a great resource for finding groups in your area. You might also want to check out your local newspaper or online community calendar. There are groups for everything these days: book clubs, language conversation get-togethers and support groups. Find a group that focuses on your passion, and attend a meeting or two. You will find yourself surrounded with people who share your interest, which not only makes for great conversation, but lasting friendships. Also, find and connect with other work-at-homers, who will most likely be dying to get out and interact as much as you are, and you can share tips and stories with each other.
Organize a dinner party.
Having an open-door policy doesn’t mean you actually have to leave your house. Let the social interaction come to you with an old-fashioned dinner party. Invite old friends and new in order to catch up, and even show off your hosting skills. Of course, there is considerable effort involved—sending out invitations, getting your home ready, preparing the meal, and serving everyone hors d'oeuvres, drinks and food—but you will be surprised by how much you enjoy yourself, and how anxious you are to plan another one.
Plan a business lunch.
Not being at the office can cause you to lose out on developing a good rapport with your boss and colleagues, so be sure to meet with them from time to time. You can bring them up to speed on your work, but, perhaps more importantly, just show an interest in being an active “part of the team.” In addition, it will be great to get out of the house, dress your best, and spend an hour or two with someone in your field. Have lunch with former supervisors and mentors as well. We all know the immeasurable value of effective networking, and a business lunch can help solve the isolation problem—and an empty stomach—at the same time.
Run, Forrest, Run!
There doesn’t need to be a planned event to get those social juices flowing. Throw on a pair of running shoes, and just step outside. Take a fast jog or a slow walk around the neighborhood, and you’re very likely to run into talkative neighbors, a friendly mail carrier and the most adorable pooch you’ll just have to stop to pet. Talk about the weather, local construction, “kids these days” or whatever it is you can course through in a few minutes, and when you return home, you’ll have a more energized mind as well as body.
Categories: Work-Life Balance