Water Cooler Moments Working At Home Alone

When many people imagine starting up their home business they only briefly consider what it will be like working at home alone. The idea of setting your own agenda and not having to put up with the sights and sounds of others in the office disturbing you may be one of the things that appeals most about the idea of working from home.

A recent report cited by Bloomberg Business Week found that although 70% of US workers spend their office time separated only by little cubicles, productivity  is drastically affected by intrusive telephone conversations, loud sneezing, and rustling food packets.

So a home business office where you have the privacy and control to get your head down must be better, mustn't it?

Home Working Business Water Cooling

Unfortunately, things are not so simple. Well, for me, they are, as I love the solitude and peace of working at home and the productivity it gives me as a home business entrepreneur. But ... that isn't the same for everyone.

The same report shows that people work best if they have the opportunity to interact on their own terms with co-workers and other home business owners, like we do on Skype and Google Hangouts.

However committed we are to the project in hand, no-one spends their entire time at work in deep concentration, and the ability to concentrate reduces over longer periods. Hence the popularity of the "water-cooler" or coffee machine.

 

A water cooler moment is the gossip and chat standing around the watercooler.

Water cooler moments don't only have to take place in an office. Pioneering social networks, like iHubbub (even if we do say so ourselves) are helping home businesses jump start connections and cross-fertilising communication between other home business entrepreneurs.

And the beauty of it is - it doesn't matter a fig where you are in the wwork from home aloneorld.

Online networking beats it all and makes any water cooler moment that much ... err, cooler.

So what do you do if your business consists of just you?

Incidentally, the problem can actually be worse if you are also trying to care for children or elderly dependents at the same time.

Let's discover a few ways to get your own water cooler moment ...

1.    Get to know your neighbours

While the world seems to get ever smaller, often the relationships we neglect most are those with the people geographically closest to us. You don't have to "be into everyone's business". But saying hello over the garden fence and extending the offer of a cup of coffee to someone who lives close by can be a good way of keeping in touch with your own neighbourhood.

2.    Keep up old business friendships

It's easy when you have a new family and you're starting up a home based business to allow time to slip by. When you are no longer in the same building as your workmates and business colleagues, and no longer tied to the same office routine, it can be hard to make a point of staying in touch.

 

Online networking makes any water cooler moment that much ... err, cooler.

Resolve not to let that happen. Put a weekly space in your diary that you will devote to maintaining contact with colleagues and friends. Even if you don't actually meet up with someone every week, use that time to phone, or at least arrange to meet another week. And keep asking.

3.    Socialise with other home working mumpreneurs

Use the family as an excuse to socialise, not an excuse to stay in. Having children with you is actually a great icebreaker. There are often children's classes where you can meet up with other home working parents or mumpreneurs who will often be only too pleased to have an adult conversation!

4.    Make online connections

Whatever field you are in, the internet has a host of groups and home business forums where you can find people who are facing similar issues to yours. You can often hook up with someone who will be able to offer support and advice, and may be willing to be available for a coffee-time chat in the middle of a working day while working at home.

Start building a network of contacts working from home with whom you can share a word or two (maybe even reveal a few home business secrets), and you may find it helps your business no end.

For starters, you can easily join in our online networking groups and find people near you to meet up with, such as Nicola and Annie from Fife met on our first networking session and found they live down the road from each other.

How cool is that!