I was recently asked how I manage the sense of isolation that comes from being separated from colleagues and the general hustle and bustle of a social work office environment. Human beings are social creatures, and isolation is inevitable when working from a home office. It’s important to take steps to combat feelings of loneliness and professional stagnation when you are self-employed or a remote worker, therefore I have shared some ideas that have worked for me.
- Take regular breaks away from the home office
Getting away from your ‘office’ and taking regular breaks whether it be walking the dog, taking a leisurely drive or weeding the garden, provides time for reflection and enables you to refocus your thinking.
- Use social media to connect with other like-minded people
Using social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are a good way to connect with like-minded people around the world. These sites provide a platform where knowledge, expertise and social work news can be shared and discussed. However, remember to adhere to our professional standards for behaviour when using social media. Click here to check the HCPC Social Media Guidance for further information.
- Use real-time communications
Where possible try to avoid writing emails and use other methods of communication such as phone calls, facetime, text-messaging and online chat apps to stay in touch with other professionals and clients. In-person meetings also provide an excellent opportunity to reconnect with colleagues.
- Attend training and events to stay connected
Consider attending networking and training events as a way of meeting other professionals, freelancers and business owners. Developing a robust support network is really important when exploring the highs and lows of self-employment/remote working. Access the latest training, courses and events.
- Become location independent
Sometimes it can be very ‘freeing’ to relocate your office to public areas and be around people. By making your workspace remote it means you can leave your home office whenever loneliness kicks in.
- Socialise with friends and family outside of the home
Not everything is about work. Make an extra effort to engage in face to face time with others. Socialising enables us to become more connected with the world around us and has a strong influence upon our overall health and happiness.
Finally, remember you are not alone. There are many freelance and remote working social work professionals in the same position but only you can tackle feelings of isolation.
Written by Stef Lewis for One Stop Social.
Independent Social Worker (MSW)
Atarah Assessment and Consultancy
Stef Lewis is an experienced social worker, who has had the opportunity to work within numerous early intervention, adoption and fostering teams and is now a well-established independent social worker and fostering panel member. Stef blogs with One Stop Social because she wishes to share her own learning with others