Romantic Stories of empires built working from home – the kitchen table or garage – are well and fine. Still, none of those spaces will do your overall health, and your family, any favours (even if you live on the North Shore). Increasingly, today’s solopreneurs are turning to co working to help beat back the blues.
According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), loneliness is worse than being overweight. HBR goes one further and likens loneliness and low social connections to smoking 15 cigarettes a day in terms of the impact on your health. Make no mistake, working from home is lonely.
Newcastle University epidemiologist Nicole Valtorta, PhD, makes the point that loneliness impacts every aspect of our wellbeing.
Valtorta told the American Psychological Association in an article ‘The risks of social isolation: “In addition, loneliness has been found to raise levels of stress, impede sleep and, in turn, harm the body. Loneliness can also augment depression or anxiety.”
While you may have family and friends and not consider yourself lonely, you are if you are spending 8 hours or more a day ‘grinding’ away at the business on your lonesome.
Here are five ideas to help solopreneurs avoid succumbing to health – and profit – sapping loneliness.
- Join online groups and communities
Solopreneur’s need to get out of their cocoon and meet people. Networking, even virtually, is essential for sales, but it also has enormous benefits through collaboration, fresh ideas and education. On the North Shore, there is the The Crate – a co working space that hosts networking meetings for local businesses – as well as Business North Harbour for networking.
- Get out of the house/office
Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, Science Director of the Greater Good Science Centre at The University of California, Berkeley, says that the human nervous system expects to have other people around us. “We’re built to really seek social companionship and understanding.”
- Attend conferences
Conferences are great for education and information, which stimulates ideas and creativity, but perhaps one of the best benefits of conferences is connecting with other people. Hearing the thoughts and learning from the successes and failures of others makes us more likely to succeed.
- Take care of yourself
Anybody who has ever worked out knows that exercise is essential for mental and physical health. It physically and mentally energises you. Instead of working alone, or taking long lonely walks on the beach, consider working out with others. Not only will exercising in a group drive you to greater heights, but the social benefits also cannot be underestimated.
- Go Co-working
Even for just a few days a week, joining a co-working space is like a powerful formula for beating loneliness while giving you the freedom to create, innovate and grind.
Working alongside other productive people leads to business networking opportunities, social interaction, new ideas and education and, best of all, you don’t have to stop working because you’ll be at your desk.
Working with others not only drives away the perils of loneliness, it fulfils our human need to celebrate, laugh, create and innovate.