How To Work From Home And Not Become Depressed
I’ve always worked from home. I’ve never had to be in any one specific place for a job. And, honestly, I actually think this lifestyle contributes a lot to my happiness. I’ve been able to work from China, while I was there for a friend’s wedding. I work in airports. I can visit my family anytime, so long as I have my laptop and my mom gives me enough space to work (she usually wants to know when I’ll be done so we can go shopping or to the beach). That is one side of working from home—you can work wherever, really. But the other side of it isn’t as glamorous. Most of the time, I’m not working from some exotic location. I am truly just…working from home. I’m not always people watching from a charming café in Europe or taking in a view of an ocean from a balcony. Working from home can be lonely and, since humans evolved to be social, that can be a problem. Here is how to stop working from home making you depressed.
Work on the balcony
When the weather is nice, consider working on your balcony. You can set up a little desk and chair, and hear the sounds of friends power walking by, moms and babies in strollers, dogs barking, and the world going on about its day. This simple soundtrack can help you feel more connected to the world.
Take a half-day at a café
Maybe you don’t want to sit at a coffee shop all day to work because, well, you guilt-buy too many pastries because you’re using the Wi-Fi. But you can easily get away with sipping one cup of coffee and working the first three hours of your day there. On your lunch break, travel home, and before you know it, you won’t even be working alone that many more hours.
Work at a park
Parks are a great place to work. They’re uplifting. You’ll see outdoor fitness classes, dogs playing, picnics happening, kids’ birthday parties in progress and other cheery events.
Get a space at We Work
Communal workspaces like WeWork and Convene allow you to rent out workspaces ranging from little one-person cubicles to 15-person conference rooms at reasonable rates. You’ll be in a building with others who are working remotely, and have access to the full social calendar the organizations put on for their customers.
Find a work from home buddy
Find a friend who also works from home and see if she’d like to work from home, together. You can pack up your lunch, and bring your work to her place, or visa versa.
Buy a portable WiFi device
Portable Wi-Fi devices allow you to have Internet no matter where you are. So you can work at…a museum, the beach, the mall, and more. They let you stay connected to your work email, from anywhere.
Call a friend during mindless tasks
You probably have some work tasks that don’t require your full attention—maybe some spreadsheets or other documents are just muscle memory for your fingers at this point. So, call a friend while you’re doing these tasks.
Always have an evening plan
Always have something scheduled for the evening. That way, you’re working towards a social engagement, rather than just more, lonely oblivion on your home.
Have a morning, social routine
Having a burst of social activity in the morning can really help bust the work-from-home blues. So consider going to a workout class first thing in the morning, or volunteering somewhere before work.
Have a different type of community
Work isn’t the only way to have a community. You can join meetup groups, gyms, social clubs, and other organizations that meet regularly.
Plan working vacations
Consider planning a working vacation, once a month. So, say, once a month you take a four-day weekend to visit a friend somewhere. You’ll bring your laptop, and work from her home, and in the evenings and on the weekend you’ll have fun.
Take scheduled, outdoor breaks
Every few hours, get up, and walk around outside. Or, run an errand like going grocery shopping or getting a hair cut. This breaks up the monotony.
Find someone who needs company
You may know somebody who’d love some company, like an elderly relative, or a stay-at-home mother. Ask if you can bring your laptop over there. You’ll both benefit from the friendship.
Put on live television
Live television shows help you feel connected to the world. The live part is important since re-runs of old shows can just make you feel more isolated. But put on Good Morning America in the background while you work.
Work in hotel lobbies
Hotel lobbies often have free Internet and are great places to work comfortably while you people watch. Plus, there isn’t the pressure to buy a coffee every two hours like there is at a coffee shop.