If you have social anxiety work from home ideas can sound like a dream come true. For many with social anxiety, working from home sounds like a dream come true. The thought of never having to make small talk with coworkers again might sound ideal. And it’s true that working alone gives you the luxury of choosing when and how you want to be social. Unfortunately, though, this can be a trap for some with social anxiety.
I’ve worked from home off and on for nearly my whole working career. In one of my earliest jobs at a publishing company, I was given the chance to work remotely two days a week because I had a very long commute. Later, when I had children, I switched to freelancing full-time, because of the flexibility of setting my own schedule. As a full-time freelancer, I’ve worked exclusively from a home office. While I have regular online contact with work colleagues, I rarely speak to anyone on the phone. And as much as I enjoy the freedom of this working lifestyle, I admit it can contribute to feelings of isolation and quite simply a feeling of being out of touch.
Some people with social anxiety might seek out the work-from-home lifestyle as a way of earning a living while coping with crippling anxiety. This definitely has its advantages; however, over time, working from home can make your anxiety worse. If you do find a work-from-home job, here are some ways to make sure it doesn’t worsen your social anxiety.
This might seem like common sense, but I can attest to the fact that when you’re working on a deadline, it can be tempting to never leave the house during working hours. If you don’t do much in the evenings or weekends, this means you might rarely leave the house at all.
Find some reasons to leave the house!
Here are some simple rules you can follow as a home-based worker with social anxiety to make sure that you don’t regress.
Expand Your Work Horizons
1. Use a co-working space as often as your budget will allow, perhaps once a week, every couple of weeks, or once a month. If that’s not realistic, become a regular at your local library or coffee shop and see if you notice any other freelancers who might like to chat for a break.
2. Volunteer in an area that furthers your career and gets you out in a social setting, such as sitting on a Board.
4. Take a class at the local college or university that furthers your career and also gives you a chance to socialize with classmates.
5. Attend one social event with mostly strangers each month, to improve your networking skills. This is especially relevant for freelancers.
6. If you’d really like to challenge your performance anxiety, teach a class or workshop in your area of expertise.
7. Get a very part-time job with lots of opportunity for social interaction.
Connect With Friends
1. Eat lunch out once a week or every couple of weeks, and invite a friend or family member.
2. For those who are religious, make a point of attending services.
3. Become the social convener in your group of friends. Plan small get-togethers or larger parties.
4. Answer the phone when your friends or family call. If you’re stuck in the middle of a big project, plan to call them back outside of your working hours.
Take Up New Interests
1. Go to Meetup.com and search for your interests. Then join up with a group of people doing something you would like to do.
2. Take a workshop to learn a new hobby in a group setting.
3. Join a gym and sign up for workout or yoga classes.
The Bottom Line
Make a plan to get out of your house at least twice a month in a social setting that goes beyond the supermarket. Do something new each month while also having a regular monthly social event. The choice of what you do is up to you! Isolation and social deprivation will trigger your social anxiety and lead you to further retreat. This is why, although working from home might feel like a relief at first, over time it can erode your self-confidence about being social. Start today, and make a plan for how you will work on being social in the coming months.
P.S. – Social Anxiety Work From Home Jobs
This article isn’t about finding work-from-home jobs, but I am sure many of you came here looking for that information. If you don’t wish to become a freelancer or business owner, which are two options to working at home, I suggest consulting this list of the top 100 work from home companies. Read up on each of them and see if your background might make you a good fit. I actually work for #18 on the list, and was hired after submitting an application through an ad on Indeed. You don’t necessarily have to be from the United States either. I’m Canadian and work for a U.S.-based company and an India-based company. Just be aware that in these cases you will be a contractor, and not eligible for any of the benefits that a regular employee would receive.