5 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Social Life as a Remote Worker
Mandy Elliott is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. After working in a studio, she decided to leave the 9-5 life and work independently, as it fits her lifestyle more. When not working in her home office, Mandy finds time to hike and cycle in the mountains.
Once only possible for a select few, working from home has become a popular alternative for workers nowadays. Many traditional office jobs even offer flexible hours that can be done outside of the office. An estimated 20% of the global workforce enjoy the benefits of telecommuting, such as lower costs, flexibility, and increased productivity, but as Buffer's 2018 State of Remote Work points out, loneliness is a major downside to it. When there’s no interaction with colleagues on a daily basis, it’s easy to understand why this can be seen as a major health risk. The social science professors at Maryville University outline how important connections are — whether with friends, family, neighbors or fellow professionals — as they are the "building blocks of the human experience." Our relationships with others are what enrich our lives, and it’s important not to let telecommuting stand in the way of having a full and happy life. Read on for some tips on how to maintain a vibrant social life while being a remote worker.
1. Find a co-working space
The rise in the number of remote workers has created a demand for co-working spaces. Whether this is a cafe, a library, or an actual establishment dedicated to remote workers, these spaces create opportunities for social interaction. Plus, it’s also a great way to network with fellow professionals. SIMPLEnetworking’s Chi Chi Okezie claims that networking also helps develop interpersonal skills, aside from the obvious purpose of networking, which is to advance your career.
2. Interact with people in public places
If you prefer to work in the comfort of your own home, you should still make it a point to get out of the house regularly. Take your dog for a walk, get a cup of coffee, pick up some groceries, and find different ways to get some fresh air. And while you’re outside, strike up a conversation with other people if you can. For example, talk to a fellow pet owner, the barista at your favorite coffee house, or the bagger at the supermarket. Even engaging in small talk is already a big step-up from being stuck in front of your computer all day. You never know, it might even lead to some meaningful connections.
3. Join online communities
There are some instances where going outside might be out of the question. So how do you interact with other people? Simple: you do it online. Many remote workers suggest joining and participating in online communities like Facebook groups, Twitter chats, and forums. These groups often share their personal experiences, which can foster a sense of belongingness among the members. Or, it can also be about topics unrelated to remote work, which is a great way to broaden your horizons.
4. Make it a point to meet up with family and friends
You might be tired from working, but it’s important to set aside time to meet up with your family and friends to avoid loneliness. This is why you need to establish boundaries with the way you do work. It might be tempting to slack off when there’s no supervision, but that just takes away from the time you can spend nurturing personal relationships.
5. Attend fitness classes
Before you scoff at this one and leave the page, hear us out: going to the gym is a great way to meet and bond with people. Well + Good contributor Emily Laurence recommends signing up for fun group workouts, like circuit classes, and trying something out of your comfort zone, like meditation. This sparks an immediate connection with fellow participants and you can talk about your experience. Additionally, you’ll also get to incorporate more physical activity than you probably get with remote work.