Last week, we explored ways to develop our self-discipline to reap the rewards of working from home. Today, I’ll take a look at another big challenge that faces moms working from home: Lack of community.
As much as some of us may complain about coworkers, chances are that we’ve had one or two good work friends that we chit-chat with and enjoy happy hours together every once in a while.
While one perk of working from home is that you don’t have to deal with anyone you don’t really like, the lack of social connection can get old—fast. If your kids are in school, the silence of an empty house—ironically, the very thing many of us moms crave—might not create the most inspiring mood. It can even be downright depressing at times!
Here’s how to reap the rewards of working from home and still maintain a sense of community in your work-at-home life.
How to Be Social While Working from Home
1. Align Your Working Hours with the Rest of the World
One of the benefits of working from home is that you can schedule your work whenever it suits you. However, the danger may be that you end up working when everyone else is off—namely, on evenings and weekends.
If your children are young, after you put them down at night may be your best chance to get uninterrupted work done, but don’t push it by staying up too late. Also fight the temptation to sleep in by maintaining your corporate waking and working hours as much as possible.
But wait, you don’t have to work from 9 to 5—then what’s the point of working from home? However, getting most of your work done between those hours will help ensure that you’re free when everyone else is—that way your social life doesn’t take a hit!
2. Get Out of the House
Whenever possible, schedule outside meetings—don’t just stick to phone calls and emails. Face-to-face communication forces you to focus, engages multiple senses, and builds personal rapport more than a simple phone call.
A change of scenery now and then is also a good idea. so even if you don’t have any meetings scheduled, head out to work from a coffee shop that offers Wi-Fi. A hot vanilla latte, some ambient music, and the presence of other people might be just the refresh you need!
Being among other working people will help create a sense of community even if you don’t know them. Plus, you never know what business connections you might establish by striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to you!
3. Attend Relevant Workshops and Conferences
Speaking of establishing business connections, workshops and conferences are a great place to do exactly that. And if you feel like you’ve lost that professional skill as a result of working from home, networking with other like-minded business professionals in your field may help you up your game.
So throw on your heels and get out there!
4. Set Up Virtual Meetings
It’s just not always possible to meet clients or employers in person, especially if they live in another part of the world. In those cases, face-to-face virtual meetings will help you put a face to names and may even improve communication. After all, there are some things that simply can’t be articulated properly over email.
Business conversations with like-minded adults are a nice change of pace from the baby talk you may engage in 24/7 with your toddler at home, so utilize resources like Skype, FaceTime, and video conferencing technologies frequently.
Virtual meetings, although not physical in nature, can also help establish a sense of community through a more personalized medium of communication.
5. Keep Emails to a Minimum
How many hours do you spend in a week writing emails, checking emails, and frantically searching through your inbox to trace back an email thread for a specific, work-related project? If you’re like me, the answer is too many!
If you have a team of remote workers, set up a project management system. These invaluable platforms allow you to keep track of what everyone is saying and doing, all in one place. A project management system also allows you to establish due dates, create checklists, and assign tasks to specific people so that everyone is clear on what’s expected of them.
Having your team in one place—even if it’s a virtual place—helps alleviate isolation and makes everyone feel like part of a team.
Make An Effort to Reach Out to Others
Not having to deal with your boss or clients on a daily basis? Great! Not having actual contact with anyone other than your family for extended periods of time? Not so great—even if you have the most amazing family ever.
Remember: You’re a strong, confident woman with a lot to offer. You are more than capable of making friends and building a business network, even if you spend most of your day at home. Working from home doesn’t mean falling off the face of the earth socially speaking—so get out there!
In the final part of this series, I’ll take a deeper look at the other challenges that come with working from home and cover practical ways to overcome them to fully reap the benefits of your work-from-home experience.
Curious about other work-from-home options? Contact our expert business mentors at www.momsmakingsixfigures.com or (858) 837-1505 to learn more about joining our team!