Working from home without feeling alone: 8 apps to help you stay connected
Ask any freelancer what the biggest drawback is of working from home and you’re likely to hear about loneliness. More often than not, it’s a complicated feeling. After all, the freedom that working from home allows is what entices so many to go freelance in the first place. You can structure your day how you’d like, work where you want, wear (or don’t wear) what you feel like – and nobody’s around to tell you otherwise.
At first, the me-time is pretty great. No more office politics, passive-aggressive co-workers, or micromanaging bosses. (Not to mention the unbeatable commute from bed to your desk.) But there comes a point in many freelancers’ lives where they miss having a reason to put on pants, or at the very least, some form of daily human communication. In fact, 39% of freelancers reported experiencing loneliness in a recent study – and that number swells to 54% when it comes to the 24-34 age group.
So how do you combat feelings of loneliness when you work from home? Like most other problems in modern-day life, we turn to the internet.
Here are 8 apps/websites for staying connected to the world without having to leave the house
Whether you’re keeping up with trending topics in the news, reading op-ed pieces on the latest technology, learning new skills, or just connecting with like-minded people, Medium is a great resource for user-contributed articles.
With topics covering everything from culture and entrepreneurship to politics and science, there’s something on Medium for everyone. Even better, the platform makes it easy to follow your favorite voices, leave comments, and engage in conversations around what you’ve read.
For freelancers, Medium is a popular tool for sharing your opinions, reaching a larger audience with your blog posts, and connecting with other professionals. Plus, it’s free to join – so you’ve got nothing to lose but time exploring!
The Tinder for professional connections, Shapr exists to introduce you to other pros in your area. Using the same swipe left/right action we’ve come to know from dating apps, you can build up your professional network in just one minute each day.
Shapr’s algorithm uses tagged interests, location, professional experience, and profile data to offer up 10-15 potential matches each day. What’s more, its machine learning capabilities make it so that the more you swipe, the more suitable your potential matches become over time.
Unlike most professional networks, Shapr does not allow contact until a match has been made – so you won’t have to worry about unsolicited requests. And hey, who knows – maybe you’ll hit it off so much that you want to get out of the house and meet up IRL.
3. 1 Million Cups
While many professional networks are happy to keep the interaction online, 1 Million Cups strives to bring entrepreneurs together at live events. With its easy-to-use app, you can join your local #1MCnation community and stay up-to-date on events in your area (and across the nation).
Existing in more than 180 communities and always on the rise, 1 Million Cups educates and inspires entrepreneurs both on- and offline. Each week, entrepreneurs all across America present their startup companies to their local 1 Million Cups chapters, offering a competitive edge within their region.
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You can apply to present at a future 1 Million Cups event near you – or if there isn’t a local chapter, you can always bring 1MC to your community yourself.
A fan favorite of tech geeks everywhere, Slack is the go-to collaboration hubs for companies, organizations, and groups worldwide. While several companies utilize Slack to streamline their internal communications, it isn’t only for the workspace!
There are several Slack communities built to bring together people with various shared interests or professional experience. It’s an excellent way to expand your horizons, meet new people, find freelance gigs, and get advice. A simple search will present you with many options – both paid and free – for almost anything you can think of.
Chatting online is all well and good, but sometimes you just want to have a conversation face-to-face. For instances when that isn’t possible (like being thousands of miles apart), Skype and Zoom are excellent alternatives.
Both options connect to your computer’s microphone and webcam to allow that in-person feeling from anywhere in the world. Plus, the ability to screen share in real-time makes collaborating from afar as easy as can be.
And, you can even participate in group chats with multiple people at any given time. This is perfect for accountability sessions, masterminds, think tanks, or just some good ol’ fashioned socializing.
6. Facebook Groups
Facebook has made itself known as the go-to place to socialize, share, and play games with your inner circle – but it’s also a wonderful way to expand that circle well beyond who you already know.
Facebook Groups exist for all kinds of purposes – from local yard sale groups and support groups to worldwide communities of users, doers, and thinkers. Whether you’re looking for professional advice and connections, accountability and support, or just a group of likeminded people to share your hobbies with, there’s a Facebook Group out there that’s perfect for you.
Many freelancers and digital nomads have taken to Facebook Groups to share their best tips and tricks for organizing their work day, getting clients, traveling on a budget, and more.
If you think that Instagram is only for sharing photos of what you’re about to eat, you’ve got another thing coming! Despite its more casual approach, Instagram has become one of the most influential tools among professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers everywhere – both to reach their ideal audiences and to connect with each other.
A visual approach to sharing allows you to give your viewers and followers an inside look at a day in your life – be it working from home or from halfway around the globe! Hashtags make finding relevant content quick and simple. Plus, comments and direct messages allow you to strike up a conversation and build a relationship.
Struggling to make connections in real life? Try Meetup.com! Its user-friendly interface allows you to search your local community for groups and upcoming events.
Regardless of who you’re looking to meet – workout buddies, someone to practice a new language with, support groups, pet lovers, etc., Meetup has it all. And if they don’t – you can always start the group of your choosing within your region.
Meetup is free to join and takes the guesswork out of meeting people with similar interests, so you can spend less time searching and more time socializing.
The moral of the story is, working from home doesn’t have to be lonely. With the proper channels in place and a healthy dose of face-to-face interaction, you can enjoy the perks of being your own boss without missing the office.