After recently re-watching the cult classic from 1999 “Office Space,” the benefits of not having coworkers or an office to go to daily was again made apparent. The character who says “corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking….just a moment” repeating over and over ad nauseam feet away from you, on a daily basis would drive anyone to drink, and this is just one example of the mind-numbing occurrences experienced by the main characters. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is a consummate portrayal of all that is wrong with the corporate world, complete with redundant bosses, pointless tasks, cubicles allowing no room or sunlight, poor hours and hokey fun office days, all in a spectacular comedic way. It represents the “why” behind many of us choosing to become freelancers and our own bosses in the first place.
Of course, your reasoning might not have involved the desire to leave a toxic office environment, it might have instead been a way to provide childcare or to help an elderly relative or simply the fulfillment of a desire to be a writer. Whatever the reason, many of us now work from home, in mostly isolation, save our families. This means, though the benefits are great, we do have to deal with the loneliness that can be a result of solo work. After all, there is no “water cooler” here…well actually, I guess there is a figurative one in the forum, but you get the point. The following are some helpful ways to combat the general isolation that comes along with being a home-based freelancer:
Writer Tools For Success: How to Fight The Isolation of Self-Employment
Take Your Work on the Road
Most of us have laptops that are portable. Use them. Take your work on the go to a local café or bookstore. Work there and enjoy a day out, among people. Have conversations with someone near you…or don’t. You can simply work and enjoy the hum of activity all around you. Sometimes, you can boost productivity and lift your mood just by changing your typical environment.
Take a Lunch With A Freelancer
When you worked a regular 9-5 job, you likely went to lunch with coworkers, at least occasionally. You can still have lunch out and enjoy some rich or even shallow conversation. Get to know other freelancers in your local area and invite them to have lunch biweekly. If you aren’t comfortable meeting someone you don’t know well, instead meet a friend or family member during their lunch break. It will give you a chance to catch up with them and give you some much-needed interaction with the human race. Word of warning: I guess because I don’t do this often, I tend to take extremely long lunches when I meet friends. It’s like we try to make up for months of separation in a few hours, so it can be unproductive. I just know I can’t do this on weeks when my workload is heavy. I save this treat for weeks when work is slower.
Join a Gym, Take a Class
If you work in an office surrounded by people, you might enjoy working out alone, by doing solitary activities like running or swimming. However, when you work from home and aren’t around people all day, joining a yoga class or other similar class at the gym is a great way to make friends and experience some social interaction. Most gyms offer a good variety of classes that are applicable for people of all fitness levels. The by product of this tip is you improve your physical health as well as your mental wellbeing.
Get a Pet
Many times, simply having someone around to talk to can have a positive effect emotionally. This is true even if that someone is a four-legged fur friend. An added bonus to incorporating this particular type of coworker into your working environment is they won’t judge you, even if you don’t get out of your pj’s until 3 in the afternoon.
If you are like me, you generally embrace and even welcome isolation. I would assume most of us writers are self-described loners. However, if you struggle with the fact that self-employment has isolated you at home, the tips listed above can help. Remember, you can always go back to work if you desire to once again be in the midst of activity and conversation. Just watch “Office Space” before doing so…it might change your mind. If you want to know more about becoming a freelance writer for WA or want to know more about how to hire one of our talented professionals, contact us today.
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