As a corporate trainer I have a good mix of days in the classroom and days working from home. But in the beginning when I was just starting and getting set up there was a period when I was at home every day by myself.
Some of you might be thinking “That’s amazing! I can imagine nothing better” but that’s not me. Don’t get me wrong – I love working from home, but I’m the most social of social butterflies. I need people.
I quickly needed to find a way to adjust so that I didn’t go stir crazy, if only to save my husband. Because the second he walked through the door every evening I was so starved for company that I was all over him wanting to chat, needing to know everything that happened in his day – down to what he had for lunch. It wasn’t a sustainable way to live.
I quickly developed some ways to incorporate people and interaction into home working. So I thought I’d share some of these, for anyone else who finds themselves in a similar position.
1. Get out of the house!
My biggest piece of advice is to try to leave the house every day. Fresh air is so important. It rejuvenates and helps refocus, and there’s an added bonus if you manage to build some exercise into the act of going out. Fresh air and exercise is a winning combination!
2. Make your meetings face to face (if you can)
Putting some face time in with clients in their offices to discuss upcoming or in progress projects is a great way I managed to build interaction into my day. But if you can’t make a meeting …
3. Reach out and call someone
In my experience, phone calls have a similar effect to meetings. They break up the tedium of the day, give me the personal contact I’m craving, raise my endorphins and always leave me in a good mood. It’s also a more personal touch and a good way to connect and get away from the long e-mail threads. And hey – if you can’t phone a client, phone a friend! I’m lucky enough to have several other friends who are entrepreneurs and we can often plan a catch up during our days.
4. Plan a catch up
Don’t just limit yourself to clients or potential clients, widen the circle to friends and ex-colleagues. Coffee, lunch, drinks, dinner – all amazing opportunities to catch up. And you’ll be surprised – even when you don’t set out with the aim of networking or building a business, sometimes new ideas or opportunities come out of a simple catch-up. If not – the laughter, news and opportunity to interface, make it worth it anyway!
5. Join a working club or co-working space
My foray into co-working resulted in me talking all day long to a range of people and not getting anything done, but if you’re disciplined this is another great way to collaborate and spend time with people. Several of my friends who work from home swear by this – so give it a try!
6. Get some company
Okay, okay I know this isn’t an option for most, but one of the best things I did was hire some help once I expanded. We even worked out that we’d spend at least 1 day a week together. Whatever day it is, is my favourite day of the week. The comfort of working from home with the bonus of having company … well that’s the dream, isn’t it?