Although it can be wonderful, working from home comes with its share of challenges. First, to successfully work from home, you need to be disciplined and focused. Second, you need to have a workspace that helps you stay organized and efficient. Third, you need to be able to manage distractions effectively. And lastly, you have to be willing to do a little extra work to avoid feelings of isolation.
The last challenge — isolation — is a big one. In fact, isolation is the most common peril of working from home. The good news is that by working on managing that challenge, you get the extra benefit of beefing up your people skills. Here are four ways to tackle isolation and improve your people skills at the same time.
Networking can take many different forms, and avoiding isolation requires that you participate in a few of them on a regular basis. You can join local networking groups in your community and attend weekly meetings. You can regularly attend industry conferences and other events. You can participant in learning events that involve collaboration with your peers. If travel is a challenge, you can still find ways to network online through social media, business networking groups, and other collaboration platforms.
Embrace Phone Calls
Taking and receiving phone calls when working from home may seem routine, but since it can often be your only connection to the outside world, it’s important to view your calls as an opportunity. Whether you are taking customer calls, participating in meetings, or even making cold calls, keep these telephone etiquette tips in mind the next time you pick up the phone and allow your phone to be a powerful tool that keeps you connected.
Use Video Conferencing
Can any of your meetings take place through video conferencing? If so, suggest it for your next meeting in order to create a new type of visual connection. This is especially powerful if you don’t have many opportunities to see your clients on a face-to-face level. If you’re unsure where to start, PC World shares 10 video conferencing tools that will help you get started.
Coworking can be an excellent option for those who work from home but miss the camaraderie that happens in an office environment. An article on Forbes says that coworking comes packed with benefits including networking opportunities and improved efficiency. It also helps keep the people skills of those who typically work from home fresh and sharp. Run a search on DesksNear.Me to see what coworking spaces are available nearby.
If coworking isn’t exactly what you’re looking for but you like the idea of getting out of your home office occasionally, take your work to the local library or coffee shop for a change of scenery.
Avoiding isolation and improving your people skills is entirely possible when you work from home. All it takes is consistent effort and a desire to stay connected. Once you do that, you will not only be keeping your social skills on par, but you may also find you are also more fulfilled and satisfied with your work.