Human beings are social animals. We require interaction with others to fulfill primal needs. We crave a sense of belonging and community.
When working from home, it can seem that the only contact you have with another living being is telling your dog to get off the furniture. Long periods of isolation can lead to boredom, stress and lack of productivity.
Here are some ways to avoid feeling isolated when working from home and stay in touch with the outside world.
Take your show on the road. Instead of spending hours on the phone cold calling potential clients, spend some time making personal office visits. Map out target areas by city or neighborhood and visit one area each week. Prospects are also more likely to remember you when projects arise if they can put a face with a name.
Get out of the house. Schedule a lunch with an associate, prospect, or advisor at least once each week. Just because you work from home does not mean you are not allowed to leave the premises. Join a gym or take the dog for a walk - do something to get out of the house. By taking a break, you will come back refreshed and ready to tackle your work head-on.
Enlist some help. You do not have to do it all alone. Delegate tasks that do not require your skills or personality, or those things you simply do not enjoying doing. Hiring an accountant to do your taxes is well worth the investment of a couple hundred dollars when you weigh that against the time and anxiety that comes with doing it yourself.
Join a networking group. Do some research and find a group in your area that meets once or twice a month. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of professional organizations in the area. Online communities and forums are another option for interacting with individuals who share similar skills, goals and interests.
Attend seminars and workshops. Participation in a workshop is a great way to learn new skills, but it also provides your "socialization fix." You may even find a new client or friend in the process.
Offer to speak at meetings and events. Whatever your business, you likely have knowledge that could benefit someone else. Local groups such as Kiwanis or other organizations are always in need of speakers for their events. Why not leverage your expertise into speaking events that could lead to new business? The potential benefits outweigh your time investment.
Working from home does not need to be a solitary existence. There are plenty of ways to form and maintain connections without losing your autonomy. Implement one or more of the ideas presented here and enjoy a fulfilling career in your home-based business.