Isolation in remote work and self employment

This post is a little off the beaten path, but it's been on my mind a lot recently. I've been working from home for almost three years now, and I've worked for myself for about a year and a half. It's been enough time to see some pros and cons to each situation.

There are nearly endless articles and books on the glory of remote work. And it's become a central component of the WordPress community — as most WordPress-centric companies are remote.

At this stage, I love owning my own business, but I don't loveΒ working alone. I feel like it's doubled the feeling of isolation of working remotely. And I love the flexibility of remote work, but I wish there was somewhere I could go sometimes to work with other people in real life. Yes, there are many workaroundΒ solutions — but I wonder if you, like me, fail to take advantage of them?

Fortunately, we have a lot of ways to prevent the feeling of isolation: Slack, Twitter, Facebook, conferences, team meetups (if you're not solo). Also, some of your probably work at coworking spaces periodically. I'm in a situation where I wish I had more options, or took better advantage of those I have. I miss being in person regularly with coworkers who share common goals for an organization. And working in the same office always made a great excuse for going to lunch together and being social too.

I can think of a few ways that could improve most people's lives when working remotely:

  • Keep regular work hours and segment your day
  • Get out and about during those work hours some;Β work from a coffee shop or coworking space at regular intervals
  • Move around your house some if you get “stuck” behind your desk
  • Make intentional lunch meetings
  • Be in a mastermind or some other small group where you either meet in person or at least chat on the phone
  • Integrate a workout class or some other non-work activity into your regular schedule
  • Find at least one or two close friends in your industry you can bounce absolutely anything off of, even outside of a regular mastermind context (and be the same resource for them)
  • Get involved in local meetups

I'm good at some of these things, and terrible at others. Overall, I've done pretty well working remotely these last few years. But I can feel a deeper need brewing, where I'm going to have to make some kind of larger shift in my routine to keep things interesting.

If you want to read more about this, and it's not a definitive resource, but Fusion has a good article on the bad parts of remote work. And if you're like me and in a bit of a remote-rut, I hope you'll be encouraged and feel free to reach out to me or other folks in Slack. Maybe we can share good ideas for working from home better.

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