Dear 100 Hour Board,
I got my first post-grad job a few months ago, and so far I've been loving it. It is a telecommuting job, which means I do it from home. I actually really like this, it makes it super convenient to get to work in the morning! But one thing I am struggling with: being alone all day working. I miss being in an office with coworkers to talk to in person, instead of through emails and phone calls. Sometimes I find myself quite lonely. However, this is how my job works, and it's not going to change. Any advice on how to feel less lonely during my work days?
-Stay at Home Employee
I'm not in those circumstances, but I know someone who is (at least the work-from-home part). You asked for advice, so I asked her, and she didn't let either of us down. Here's what she had to say:
Reach out to coworkers. While nothing can quite replace face-to-face interaction with coworkers, you can still build friendships with them—it just takes a little more work. The company I work for approves the use of an instant messaging program, so I can message team members when I have a question or need someone to bounce ideas off of. This is much faster and more casual than email and doesn't tie up my phone. If your company allows something similar, I highly recommend it. If not, make a conscious effort to reach out in other ways. I've learned that as a home-based employee, it's best to communicate more than you think you have to; your voice IS your presence.
Improve your working environment. I discovered that it helped a lot to work by a window. Somehow that just makes me feel more connected to the world and less isolated. I've got a couple houseplants nearby to tend to and enjoy. When my place feels "too quiet," I turn on some music (LOVE Pandora), which really keeps my mood up and helps me stay on task. Also, I have a cat. Tell me you could feel lonely with a fluffy kitty purring in your lap.
Do more outside of work. I would definitely go crazy if I spent all day every day in my apartment—so I do something outside the apartment virtually every evening, and many of the things I do purposefully involve social interaction, like participating in a plethora of church activities, going to classes at a local gym, spending time with friends and my nearby family members, and playing in a local bell choir. Getting involved in these kinds of opportunities, especially as I make an effort to reach out and get to know people, keeps me from feeling isolated and lonely, no matter what I did all day.
Hope that helps!
-She Is Crafty
That she is! Hopefully you've felt that spark of inspiration and found that some of these ideas would work well in your situation. I personally recommend the cat.
- The Detective