If you work alone, meet me at the virtual water cooler and consider these five tips for conquering the dreaded Empty Office Syndrome:
- Create an online community. You may like Twitter, Or Instagram. Or Pinterest (Warning! Warning! Irresistible time suck!) I jump on and off Facebook when I need a reminder that there are other humans in the world, or I want a little inspiration. Some of the links my friends post are fabulous. Check out this Mandy Patinkin clip.
- Stop the negative Nelly thoughts. The advantages of working at home and/or alone far outweigh the disadvantages. Do you really miss the gossip? The noise? The interruptions? The wait for the elevator? The bad coffee? Go pour yourself a cup of the good stuff. And, while you're in the kitchen, remember what that office refrigerator used to look like. Terrifying.
- Volunteer. You're feeling lonely? Tsk, tsk. Are you tied to that chair? Is someone barring your door? No? Then get up and get out. There are people to meet and organizations to help. Find a fun group that needs your time and talent.
- Get up and get out. I know -- I said that before. It's a key message. I'm saying it again. Go to the library and ask the librarian a question. Talk to the checkout clerk at the grocery store. Enroll in a small group exercise class. Take yoga. Take a walk and smile at everyone you pass.
- Find a coffee shop buddy. My pal Kate kept me sane a while back by meeting me regularly for coffee. She said she wanted to talk shop. I know she knew I was slowly going stir crazy and wouldn't ask for help. Because I'm much better at giving advice than taking it. I like to consider that part of my charm.