The Way We Work
September 22, 2009 by Tamara Rice

At oDesk headquarters in Menlo Park, California, every Tuesday is a WFHT, so we know that working from home can be a liberating experience. However, for some, the time at home may create habits that lead to an unhealthy way of life. Here are some tips to keep yourself sane, social and successful!



Don't let your laptop become your best friend. Let's face it, you don't have to work from home to be a laptop addict, but with this line of work, the risks are greater than normal. To keep yourself out of laptop-abuse rehab, watch TV with nothing on your lap, don't take your laptop to bed with you, pick up the phone next time you need someone instead of e-mailing them (especially if they are a friend), and give yourself at least one completely computer-free day a week. You'll be surprised how much you miss your little piece of plastic, with it's cute little keyboard and shiny screen, but trust us, this is for your own good. (We promise.)



Don't spend too much time alone. Of course, we all have different needs for social interaction, but no one should be alone all or even most of the time. So, if you haven't spoken out loud in the last 24 hours, you need to pick up the phone or run to your nearest coffee shop and strike up a conversation with someone. If you live with family or roommates, you may think you're immune to loneliness, but you're not. Make sure you're talking to and meeting with other people (who don't live with you) on a regular basis. It's important to have real people in your life. (Sorry, Facebook doesn't count!)  Make sure your community extends past your front door.



Don't spend too much time at home. Speaking of your front door, make sure you are getting out of it. Often. Get outside once a day, drive somewhere every other day. Go to the park, walk around a mall, eat dinner out, work at a library -- just spend time away from your four walls, preferably in the sunlight. If you can begin to think of sunlight and fresh air as health supplements (because they are!), you might be more likely to get your daily dose. (If you are a stay-at-home parent with little ones and freelancing or consulting, this can be especially hard to do, because you are probably exhausted. But it's as important for your kids to get out of the house as it is for you.)

WFHT Recommended Reading
"Even Lone Wolves Need a Pack" from Bizzia
"How to Overcomee Loneliness When You Work From Home" from Spark Plugging
"7 Tips for Freelance Writers" (hint: these aren't just for writers) from Hub Pages
"Overcoming Loneliness" from Freelance Folder
"Tips for Dealing With Home-Office Isolation" from Consultant Journal



Much like a divorced marriage counselor, my ability to dish out advice is not an indicator of my ability to implement it. However, having worked from home for over a decade, I've learned what works and what just creates more work.

- Tamara


Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.

  • Wojciech Kruszewski

    I faced this too.

    Finally I managed to solve the issue.

    I rented an office space to draw a clear line between work and free time. I limited working time to 8 hours a day 5 days a week which allowed me to regain my social life.

    Finally I got a co-worker so that we could collaborate in this shared office space.

  • Tamara

    Fantastic tips, Jane!

    Thanks for contributing to this topic. Love the library idea ... just wish my town's library was a little less--how do I put this--icky? I dream of beautiful windows and walls of books that smell like print, not mold. ;-)

  • Jane

    Tips to cure the work from home blues

    1. Attend meetups of like minded entrepreneurs in your area. Go to to search for such groups in your area. Offline socializing is still a great resource for business

    2. Attend webinars to meet people who are interested with your pursuits.

    3. Develop a team of people with the same common goals as you have - join organizations that further your cause

    4. An occasional trip to the library or shopping mall will do just to unwind and get a fresh idea on how life is without an internet connection.

    5. If ever you need one- work with a virtual assistant to make the load lighter and give yourself some time off.We outsource virtual assistants to work at home entrepreneurs that are just burned out! Works like a charm!

  • Tamara

    Thanks for the comment, Jennyfer. I know it's hard to work from home and have kids at home. It just doesn't leave much time for a grown up social life, and while it's nice to be with our kids it's a lot harder to work from home with them than it looks, isn't it?

    When my kids were small and I was editing manuscripts from home, I never got out. There just weren't enough hours in the day!

    All that to say, I know it can be really hard when a million priorities are buzzing on your plate.

  • http://underconstruction Jennyfer Moreno Shek

    It may be a little to late for me to read this blog now, not because I can no longer go out ( am not in jail after all) but because I am in the habit of doing the complete opposite from this blog, I am a mouse potato. I am surrounded by family I barely speak lol well I do talk to my 5 children but not as much. I guess this is something else to add to my current 19-hour schedule.