Working from home is pretty great on so many levels. You can work in your pyjamas if you want to, you don’t have to commute, and you can be as messy as you like. However, there are inevitable downsides too. One of those is the risk of feeling isolated.
If you’ve always worked in a large commercial office, you’ll be used to having work colleagues and people milling around all the time. This might have been annoying at the time but once you don’t have it, you may begin to miss it! Isolation is one of the main reasons why people decide that working from home isn’t for them. However, many people manage to overcome that risk and find working from home to be the perfect arrangement for them.
If you’ve never tried remote work before and you’ve found yourself forced into it by the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe you’re thinking about work from home for the first time, isolation has to be something you consider. How will you deal with it? Do you think it will be a problem for you, or do you prefer to work on your own anyway? By asking yourself questions beforehand, you can prepare yourself.
Before we go on to talk about how you can avoid or reduce isolation, check out this very useful video which talks about working from home in general.
The number one way to avoid isolation is to avoid isolating yourself in the first place! That is a problem at the moment because the pandemic has force us all to stay away from those we care about and those we work with, but outside of these strange times, it’s actually easier than you think to ensure that you remain a very visible part of the team, even though you’re working from home.
For instance, Zoom has been a game changer. You can be a part of collaboration sessions and meetings simply by being added to the room. You can also set up WhatsApp groups with your colleagues and stay in the loop in terms of what’s going on in the office. If the situation allows, you can go into the office for regular catch ups, perhaps once a week or so. And, you can also make work socialising a thing, by suggesting team building exercises to your manager or just arranging for everyone to go out for a meal once a month or more frequently if everyone agrees.
The effectiveness of working from home really comes down to communication and making an effort to be a real part of things. Without that effort, it’s extremely easy to become isolated and to feel very lonely. However, with enough effort, and it’s really not that much, you can obtain a great home and work-life balance on both sides.