As I’ve shared before, I’m a fan of working from home. Although it comes with pros and cons, the benefits are often undeniable. Those working from home are often able to be more productive. They have the ability to get more done in less time. They don’t waste hours each day in the car commuting. They are able to focus on what matters the most – working. And, they have more time left to devote to their families.
On the flip side, if you’re working from home, you have to try harder to make real connections with your coworkers. It’s easy to know very little about the people you’re working with. You are less likely to know about their families or hobbies, for example. Although these details aren’t related to work, knowing coworkers well can increase teamwork and therefore productivity.
Personally, there’s another hurdle too. Working in person creates more opportunity for social connection. When you work in an office, you’re more likely to have lunch with coworkers. You’re more likely to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Work is more than just work. It’s a place to make friends. It’s a place to socialize.
One downside to working from home is that people feel lonelier. They feel disconnected. The social aspects of working in an office are gone. If you’re working from home, this is something to be aware of. Very likely, you will want to try to make more time for social connection outside of work than you did before. Making friends as an adult isn’t an easy task, but it’s important.
If you’re like most people, starting to make new friends is the hardest part. It’s hard to know where to begin. Think about your hobbies, and interests. Are there things you wish you knew more about? From cooking to bowling to running, there are many different types of groups for different interests.
Meetup.com can be a great resource. Meetup has many special interest groups that you can join with little obligation. Look for events on the website of your local newspaper. You can also search Eventbrite for paid events that may be happening in your area. If you find groups that are of interest that are not on one of these sites, send them an email and asked to be added to their newsletter. Most groups send out weekly or monthly notices of upcoming activities.
When you find fun things to do, be brave. Try to attend a few different activities. If you can, attend alone. Many people do this. Going alone will encourage you to talk to people you haven’t met before.
Just one social activity per week can greatly change your social connectedness. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself with friends and social events. And, being social is about more about being social. The happier you feel, the better you’ll do at work. And, very often, being socially connected can help you find a future job.