How I Combat Loneliness When Working Remotely

May 4, 2017
Combating Loneliness
Reading Time: 3 minutes
One of the biggest challenges facing those who don’t work in a traditional office can be loneliness. Loneliness can impact you not just emotionally, but physically and before you know it your motivation and productivity have taken a dive. Your enthusiasm wanes, snack time and TV time go up and deadlines are suddenly passing you by.
Digital Nomads have a particularly hard time with this. In an online survey, a huge proportion answered that loneliness was their biggest challenge as a digital nomad. Jelte ten Holt wrote a great post “Lonely in Paradise” that has some great tips for handling loneliness while on the road.
What if you’re just working from home? Think about trying out some of these strategies which I’ve found to be helpful when working alone is getting to me:

Become a regular at a coffee shop

I spend a lot of time at coffee shops, but I find that working from the same coffee shop throughout the week has helped me to develop a rapport with the other ‘regulars’ who also spend a fair amount of time there. It’s a great way to diversify your social circles (and even share a 4-person table!)
Combatting loneliness at Bean Scene Pandozy, Kelowna, BC

This is Mo & Avs!

Arrange work days with a friend/business partner/relative strangers

Peta and I regularly schedule time to work online together. If you don’t have someone to work with, try a site like Meetup to find a group of like-minded individuals. One of our collaborators, Nikki Tate, recently stumbled upon the ‘Shut Up and Write’ meetup.
If you do get together, try structuring your time to maximize your productivity.  Peta and I generally start our online co-working sessions with a quick catch up followed by a review of client projects, some collaborative work and then some silent work time where we try to get something done that has been lingering on our to-do list for too long. By doing this we keep each other accountable.
The Shut Up and Write meetup takes place every Saturday at the Anticafé in Paris. The writers work for 40-minute bursts, with some time to chat or snack in between.

“Regulars confessed that things don’t always go quite according to plan – some days it’s hard to tear fingers from keys, apparently. Other days, the chatting overwhelms the working and things devolve into an orgy of good conversation.” – Nikki Tate

Find friends with flexible work schedules

Get out of the habit of only meeting during evenings and weekends. Arrange to meet up for a quick cup of tea or coffee to break the day up.

Run errands to interact with others

If for no other reason than to break up your day and avoid isolation, running errands has been a big help for us. Understanding when you are most productive helps so that you can schedule the errands to take place during periods when you know you won’t be as focused. For me, this is around 2-5pm.

Become part of a community Slack channel

How do you find them? Check out this list of Slack communities to find a group that caters to your interests.

Go to a co-working space (If you don’t have the budget, try the library)

Can you build a business case for investing in a co-working space? I find that I spent a fair amount at coffee shops, and am currently building a case (to convince myself) that it may be more cost-effective or at least the same as working from coffee shops. Among the many upsides includes the ability to meet like-minded people and find new business opportunities.
If a co-working space is out of your budget, many public libraries have excellent spaces to work from with free WiFi, good access to electrical outlets and you can even bring your own food!
Combat loneliness at a library

Richmond Public Library, BC

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