Working from home can be challenging, but there are things you can do to make it a little easier. Our contributor, Jenna Wohlwend, is here with tips on how to still feel part of a community while working from home.
When I first had the idea to write this article, the world was in a much different state of affairs than it is right now. This makes the timing ever poignant. It also makes it a bit moot as most of us have probably found a way to really jump into communities with our current situation. Humans are so adaptable and it has been so impressive during this time how much we have really banned together to try to make the most of a terrible situation—and support each other.
Before giving any advice and tidbits, what must be said about being part of a community still when you work from home, something many of us are now really starting to get used to or develop if we haven’t already had the opportunity to, is that it takes effort.
No one is forcing you to get dressed, be productive in your hobbies or exercise. You have to be a self-starter to get the most out of the experience. And if that doesn’t come naturally, like any habit, it is something to build. Being held accountable in all things with no real dates or commitments pushing you through is a challenge. Oh, but when you do, it’s so worth it! And so fulfilling, too!
Here are some ways to feel like you are a part of a community when you work from home. (Note: Some of these apply for when we are relinquished from our social distancing mandate!)
If there is one thing people can really bond over, it’s their pets! Go to a dog park at a certain time every day. I have a friend who is on Broadway, so his hours are a bit unique, and he made a friend at the dog park who he actually ended up inviting to his wedding! This will give you a sense of your neighborhood, an opportunity to meet new friends and get some much-needed fresh air.
Join a Facebook Group
Joining a Facebook group or some other online gathering is a great way to garner support from others who work from home. You can speak with people, ask questions and gather inspiration on what other people do in your same situation. It’s an excellent way to stay connected.
Always Take the Video Call
It’s very easy to just roll out of bed and not put on the camera for your meeting—or to just revert to writing emails more. However, having that face-to-face connection can still resonate well, even digitally, with your co-workers or clients if you work from home. If there is an opportunity to chat that way, always take it.
Take a bit of time each morning to read articles and educational pieces from thought leaders in your field of work. This will not only allow you to have a moment to learn something new and challenge yourself—but it also creates that sense of community around having mentors and camaraderie in your role that may be missed when working from home. It reminds you of the grander scope of whatever type of work you are doing and what you are contributing to.
Commit to Your Hobbies
Whether it is book club, exercise classes or a group music class, do something that ensures that you meet and talk to people who are outside of your work life. This will help you stay balanced and sane and definitely lead to other opportunities to make friends and do fun things!
The general idea is to take every opportunity you can to expand your horizons and be with or talk to people. If these opportunities seem few and far between, take them upon yourself to create them! Set up work happy hours (we all know those work well now, even virtually). Or start a running club. Mix things you love with your community and use that incentive as a means to get out and enjoy! You can still be very fulfilled socially while working from home, it just takes a little time and effort. You’ve got this!
Jenna Wohlwend is a content strategist at a tech company in San Francisco and runs her own lifestyle blog, Jenna Rose Colored Glasses. She has her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and loves karaoke, reading, cooking and traveling with her husband.
Featured image via Kim Le Pham home tour.