There are perks to working from home, but if you’re not careful, you can develop the work at home blues. Some who work outside the home cannot grasp how setting your own schedule and working in pajamas can create the blues. However, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If you’re privileged to work from home, but experience the work at home blues, here are seven ways to break free.
1. Schedule Breaks
Work at home blues can result from too much work. Being self-employed means that you’re responsible for your income. Thus, you may take on project after project to maintain steady income. This is understandable. But if work prevents breaks throughout the day, or if you must work long hours to complete assignments, perhaps it’s time to scale back.
2. Go out to Lunch
Being alone for 40 hours a week can take the fun out of working from home. Initially, you might love the solitude. But as weeks or months go by, you may long for adult conversation. Rather than grab something quick from the kitchen and return to work after 10 minutes, allow yourself a full lunch hour and meet a girlfriend or your spouse for lunch.
3. Change up Your Scenery
Even if you leave the house for lunch, this isn’t always enough to end the blues. Perhaps discontent comes from being cooped up in the house day after day. If your job allows, consider working from locations other than your home. Coffee shops, bookstores and the public library typically have free Internet access.
4. Make Use of Free Time
Work from home blues can also arise from lack of work. Freelancing or being self-employed is often feast or famine. Periodic slow downs are common, but rather than stress about the lack of work, keep your mind occupied with other pursuits. Continue to look for new contracts, but also complete projects around the house or explore hobbies.
5. Take Advantage of Social Media
Being on Facebook or opening a Twitter account is one way to stay connected to the outside world if you work from home. You can follow blogs written by other freelancers and periodically join the conversation, or Skype with your follow freelancers while on break. There is a measure of freedom that comes from work at home life, but you also miss out on the camaraderie of office life.
6. Turn off Work
Burnout is a top reason why work from home professionals return to the office. When you work from home, you can easily fall into the trap of working around the clock. Learn how to turn work “off” at the end of the day. Give yourself a set work schedule - perhaps 9 to 5 - and aim for no more than eight hours a day.
7. Get Dressed
Yes, people who work from home have the option of staying in their pajamas. But if you feel unmotivated in the mornings, getting yourself ready for the day may perk your mood. Get out of bed at a certain time each day, have a morning workout, shower and then get dressed. You’ll feel less bummy and better prepared to take on the day.
The lack of social interaction affects people differently, and some people aren’t cut out for this type of work life. But if the blues are only an occasional annoyance, you can overcome this feeling and reclaim your original joy. Do you work from home? How do you beat loneliness?