Fighting loneliness as a home worker – some tips from my years as a homeworker


Fighting loneliness as a home worker – some tips from my seven years as a homeworker

Loneliness is just “THE WORST”. As someone who has worked from home for a long time now, I must tell you sometimes I struggled with loneliness.

Being lonely is becoming an affliction within modern, developed economies. According to the Office for National Statistics, 2.6 million British people feel or suffer from feeling lonely.

Loneliness also does appear to have many health impacts that are underappreciated by the government and the public at large. As a homeworker, it is important to deal with this issue before it becomes a problem as a study by Lena Dalberg points out that digital connections cannot replace social connections as a by-product of the pandemic.

The Campaign to end Loneliness states that:

  • Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 26%
  • Loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
  • Loneliness is worse for you than obesity.
  • Loneliness and social isolation is associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke.
  • Loneliness increases the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Loneliness with severe depression is associated with early mortality and loneliness is a risk factor for depression in later life.
  • Loneliness and social isolation put individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

Clearly, loneliness has been building within developed economies for a number of years prior to the pandemic, however, the pandemic does seem to have exacerbated the feelings of loneliness that many of us are feeling on a daily basis.

What is loneliness?

Defining our problem is always an important starting point in any discussion on an issue like loneliness and trying to define it is important. As ever Wikipedia will be our friend in this endeavour.

Wikipedia describes Loneliness as:

Loneliness is an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation. Loneliness is also described as social pain—a psychological mechanism that motivates individuals to seek social connections. It is often associated with an unwanted lack of connection and intimacy. Loneliness overlaps and yet is distinct from solitude. Solitude is simply the state of being apart from others; not everyone who experiences solitude feels lonely. As a subjective emotion, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people; one who feels lonely is lonely. The causes of loneliness are varied. They include social, mental, emotional, and environmental factors.”

As we can see loneliness is perceived isolation that leads to an emotional response. Loneliness is a useful emotion, as it can spur us towards social interactions and reaching out to making connections.

Are there different types of Loneliness?


As someone who has worked from home for years, I have over time felt different types of loneliness. Again, according to Wikipedia, there is existential, cultural, meaningful relationships, situational, internet, and relationship loss-based loneliness.

To discuss each one in detail is not the purpose of this article, however, I will briefly overview each one to aide better understanding.

Existential: The existential view of loneliness is that it is universal, unavoidable and we perceive our loneliness as unique and will crave social connection. As with any theory with existential in its title, it is both very depressing and has some nuggets of truth.

The positive spin on existentialism is that we all feel loneliness, and all want social connection, so we are all five years olds in the school playground looking for friends, so you are not alone.

Cultural: This is an interesting perspective on loneliness that the route cause of some people’s loneliness is the level of individualism over communalism in a society affects the relationships of a society and dictates how connections are formed, maintained and what social connection takes place.

Meaningful Relationship (lack of): The lack of meaningful relationships is one of those areas of. Loneliness. They can come about due to a whole range of reasons. But essentially it comes down to the feeling of not having enough. Connexions that are meaningful is the barometer hear for loneliness.

Situational: Generally related to changing circumstances. That decreases the amount of social interaction that a person undertakes. So, for example, the pandemic created situational loneliness for millions of people, but other examples could be a highly extroverted person who ends up moving to the countryside and finds it hard to make new connections compared with city living. Or postpartum depression In new mothers can create situational loneliness.

Internet: there is much to be said that the Internet could cause loneliness. But also, conversely, that lonely people might be drawn to the Internet. Now. Given the increasing digitalization of the world that we live in, this is an interesting concept to be dealing with. My belief is that the Internet both causes and can replace social connexions. But the real problem is the way that it draws attention away from our social interactions and the noticing the opportunities for social interactions.

Relationship loss: Significant relationship loss can also be another, source of loneliness as breakdown or bereavement can lead to a disruption in social circles and in the desire to want to be socially active. This can also even happen with people who, for example, are working away from home, and feel homesick. As they have lost the relationship with their former place and social connexions.

Loneliness and Homeworking

Looking at the above home, working has the perfect opportunity to create a sense of loneliness within ourselves through both circumstances and situation. Homeworking removes us from a daily habit of social interactions, from a community, it can remove a range of meaningful relationships and small conversations.

Throw these together and there is the potential for loneliness and as someone who has worked from home myself, this is very true. Combine it with millions of people doing home working for the first time, and a pandemic that stops us interacting. There is no wonder that so many people are feeling so lonely now.

Ways to Combat Loneliness as a Home Worker

Now I have personally faced loneliness as a home worker, and I am not going to be ashamed of that.

The loneliness can be felt in different ways with the different types of situations.

Now I coped badly at times with loneliness. Lucky, I did not go down a path of hedonistic drug-taking, drinking and orgies to cope (thank God). I did, however, throw myself way too much into my work and use communications with other business people, clients and candidates as a proxy for connections that were missing, or go to hot-desking hubs just to talk to people, instead of working.

Basically, I just did not cope that well in the first few years, as well as I, could have.

This type of loneliness means that there are no definitive. Seven step programmes to reducing loneliness. There is however a wide range of tactics and strategies that you can implement to reduce it. Below we have outlined ways we can all reduce loneliness.

Of course, during a pandemic some of these work better than others, so please take local circumstances into account.

Tactic 1: Talk out loud to gain perspective.

One of the best ways to combat loneliness is to put it into perspective. The best way to do it is too talk out loud. How many times have you gone to say something to someone and then you have said it out loud and you realise how your inner thoughts sounded absolutely ridiculous? Or just plain wrong.

I bet you have because I know I have.

So, say to yourself  “I am feeling lonely now, but that's okay. This is a temporary feeling. It will pass.”

Just saying this out loud when you feel it, will have the effect of verbalising our worries and put it into perspective. For me talking out loud removes the thought from my head, whether it is a job I need to do or an emotion I am feeling.

Tactic 2: Act straight away.

If you feel that your home working loneliness has become a real issue. Act straight away.

Literally, stop reading this article and do something now.

Now this action could be in a multitude of things in a multitude of means.

But, and this is a Kim Kardashian sized BUT, the action should be done straight away. It could be, for instance, phoning someone up and saying hi be it a friend, colleague, or family member.

Essentially, this is about taking a proactive approach towards your own loneliness and facing up to it and acting.

Now, this action could take many forms, and will of course be dependant on personal circumstances, but taking control and taking some action can be enough to reduce the feelings of loneliness enough for the clouds to clear and for you to assess the situation more favourably.

Once you have taken a small action, try and find a way each day to take another action. Because the feeling of loneliness loves the feeling of being out of control.

Tactic 3: Go to a club or start a new social hobby!

Personally, I have an obsession with painting little plastic toy soldiers called Space Marines from the Warhammer 40k universe. It is nerdy, it is geeky, it is rather therapeutic to turn a grey model into something colourful and living in its own way.

Now for a long time, I shied away from playing the games and going to clubs to play the games with the little painted space marines. In a way this was because I had become a little shy during years of home working and was safe in my pre-existing social circles.

However, when we moved to Scotland, I knew things had to change, I needed to meet new people and going along the local wargaming club made sense. So, I put on my geekiest T-Shirt and off I went. Then the pandemic hit. However, the fits and starts have helped and it also meant I joined a community of like-minded people to chat to online about the hobby.

So, for me it was Warhammer, for you it could be fell running, mushroom growing or knitting. It's about finding a group of like-minded people outside of family and work life. If you stuck on places to look, start searching ‘what’s going on’ groups local to you on Facebook.

Tactic 4: Say ‘hello’ challenge.

This was a challenge when I first moved to Aberdeen, I felt lonely rather a quicky, after the initial excitement of moving to a new city wore out. For a few weeks, I let this get me down, however, I combatted it in the end by saying hello to people as walked in the street.

Now, this did not lead directly to any new friends or socialising, it did however combat loneliness which made it easier to develop a social circle. Which ended up with me meeting my fiancé.

Tactic 5: Exercise

It is not questioning that exercising is good for us. This is not in doubt. It makes us feel better, it gives us a rush of hormones that are happy hormones and if done correctly can make us look “gadoosh”. That the noise muscle people make when they ripped their shirts of to show you their muscle, or so I am lead to believe anyway.

Exercise is also good for feelings of loneliness, especially when it is conducted in a social setting like a gym or fitness class as:

 1) You are around people.

 2) As you are in a more social setting, you are more likely to increase your chances of interacting with people.

3) Being in a shared social space creates a feeling that you are sharing a goal with people.


4) You will get fitter and healthier, which is a nice bonus.

During the pandemic, of course, this has become harder. However, I highly recommend this.

If you cannot get to a gym, start by leaving the house and taking a walk. Sunshine, fresh air and seeing other people in the street can be great for improving your mood, although it might not tackle the underlying loneliness.

Tactic 6: Work in the ‘start-up’ or ‘hot desking’ hub.

Covid, has of course made this (and the next tactic harder), however, a great way to deal with combat loneliness is to find a start-up or hot-desking hub to work from a couple of days a week.

This is a great idea because it makes working far more social gives you a place to go a couple of times a week and offers that chance of meeting new people that can alleviate the symptoms f loneliness.

In fact, the benefits of a place like this are better than the social interaction that comes with working in an office in the following ways:

1)      It replicates the small talk conversations of an office environment, without the attached politics.

2)      The work people are working on is more diverse, so there are other interesting viewpoints bounding around.

3)      You are not required to turn up – so there is freer will about being there.

4)      Only certain types of work will be able to be conducted depending on your job, so it can help with time management.

5)      IT can give you the office background buzz that is so helpful in motivation to work.

Tactic 7: Coffee shops and pubs.

Now, the same as the above can apply to working in Coffee shops, pubs and bars. However, it feels more social, there is normally good coffee and the biggest bonus (Dramatic and overly long drum role) you can order bar snacks.

Just make sure if you are working from a coffee shop or pub that you 1) expense it and 2) only work on work that is appropriate for the environment. Do not go editing your latest OnlyFans video montage whilst at McDonald's.

In all seriousness, people’s data and privacy is important to protect.

Note on Digital Tactics

We have not created a list of actions you can take online to reduce loneliness for a simple reason. It does not generally help in itself and can make loneliness worse through distraction and addiction.

Reach out for help.

Now, loneliness can be a sign of underlying deeper mental health problems. If you think this is the case, we suggest that you contact and reach out to someone who can help.

The first port of call, generally, would be to contact a General Practitioner, as they will be able to send you in the right direction of local services that are able to help.

What you can access will depend on local services, however, if you are suffering a mental crisis, please do reach out to someone.

Will Home Workers always be lonely?

The short answer is Yes and No.

The long answer is that home working has the potential to drive up rates of loneliness and isolation. However, as this is a relatively new phenomenon, society will take time to change and adapt and we will in time find new coping mechanisms and create new social infrastructures.  

We will in time become better at Home Working and dealing with the negatives it creates. What ways have you found to cope with isolation? Let us know at

If you have any questions, please email

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Please note that I have written these books that you might find interesting: Recruitment HacksPolitical Careers & My First eBay Sale.  I have also created an Udemy course on making your first eBay sale.

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