Cabin Fever and the Remote Worker

cabin in the woods

Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you that I am a talker – my grandmother would say I can talk the hind legs off of a donkey. One of the most common concerns for people around remote working is feeling lonely and spending all day every day within the same 4 walls. For someone like me this can easily turn you stir crazy and induce a bit of cabin fever, which is why it is important to plan ways in which to counter it. Everyone has a different threshold for when they will feel the need to get out and about, and I would emphasise that for your mental health it is a good thing to ensure that you recognise when that need is not being met.

So how do you deal with this?

There are a number of ways, the first and most obvious being just to go outside, and if possible work from somewhere else for a bit. Again different people have different need levels to help them feel more connected and remove that feeling of cabin fever. In the summer when it is nice I will sometimes head and work from my back garden/yard – it’s a nice mental break and I get to enjoy some of the good weather.

Doing some physical activity is another fantastic option. One of my colleagues will go for a daily run to help him clear his head and allow him to refresh himself to get some focus. I know people with dogs who will take them for a walk. I will often just head out for a walk to run an errand or visit the shop to buy milk etc. Yes I could do it later in the car, but the walk gives me a bit more time to be outside and clear my head. You can also add a podcast or an audio book to the walk – a way I know a lot of people power through material.

Another option is to head to a coffee shop or library and work from there for a bit. You don’t have to be there all day. I live about a 10 min walk away from the town centre so can head up and work from the coffee shop or library (the library even has coffee in it!) for a little bit without too many issues. One of the best spots I know of to work from in London is the British Library – its between two of the main rail stations, has good internet, power, and comfy chairs. As a bonus it also is a pretty inspirational place to work from, you can treat yourself to having a look around at the many tomes there and if you wanted to find a way of reading more – use a library! I recently visited and got to see one of the Enigma Machines which I thought was pretty cool.

An Enigma Machine in the British Library

Over the past few years there has also been a rise in the popularity of co-working spaces (most notably WeWork), which have provided an option for people to work in a more relaxed environment where there is also super fast internet. I’ve used a few of these services around the world and a number offer a great location for a few days when you want somewhere specifically designed for work. If you are on a lot of phone calls for example and can’t be at home, these spots offer a great alternative to allow you to get some work done. They also provide a community for you to be a part of where you can make new contacts and grow your network (and possibly business).

Those are a couple of the options I have found that work for me – are there any other tips you have? Let me know in the comments below!

Action Items

  1. Pay attention to whether you feel like you need a change of scenery or space
  2. Is there somewhere new you can try working from for a couple of hours like a local coffee shop or library?
  3. Is there a co-working space local to you that you haven’t tried before?
  4. Have you tried exercising or going for a walk to clear your head?
  5. Is there somewhere you can work that has something which can help inspire you?

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