One of the biggest differences between working for yourself on a self-employed basis or being an employee showing up at the office every day is the level of human interaction. In this article we will discuss How You Can Start to Avoid Isolation and Depression as a Freelancer Today.
When you’re a freelancer there are no jokes or early morning chatter with colleagues to cheer you up before work begins, no one to sit with at lunchtime, and no one to chat to in the break room except you… and maybe your cat or dog.
Of course, if you’re not affected by this and you like time to yourself on a regular basis, freelance work is great, and could be the right direction for you to follow.
However, for a lot of people, the thrill of social interaction is something that benefits work and makes the day a little easier. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to avoid isolating yourself, thanks to the flexibility you have as a freelancer.
The Freedom to Set Your Own Schedule
Learn to make the most of working as a freelancer by going out with friends or family to split up your working day; go for a morning swim or take an early afternoon spin class; watch an afternoon movie at the cinema; meetup with other freelancers in Starbucks and work together a couple of afternoons a week. The options are endless.
The benefit of doing this is you can meet people you might not have met if you were stuck in the office all day.
You might even consider volunteering for part of the week or setting up a regular get together with a friend or family member who lives a distance from yourself once a week.
Shared Working Environments
There are companies all around the world that offer co-working spaces and I bet there is one near you.
Find out about options for renting an office or desk space near you. Many big cities and towns have at least one freelance option, and some have many more you can take advantage of.
Yes, there is a downside as It’s another expense for your business that you need to think about, but you may find the price worth it in return for seeing other people during the day, you may even make some new friends.
Working in a shared office or co-working environment with people in the same field as yourself can help you network and at the same time generate new ideas and business leads.
You could also have the opportunity to unofficially partner up with another freelancer who works in a different field and refer clients to one another and help each other grow.
Schedule Lunch Breaks
Another way to avoid isolation as a self-employed individual is to make the most out of your scheduled break times.
Make time to catch-up with friends and other freelancers, buy each other lunch, go to the local park together and enjoy some fresh air.
The fact is, you can do most of the activities you normally do at lunchtime, with the added bonus of choosing a specific friend without being tied to your co-workers who occupy the same area as yourself.
If you’re stuck in your own bubble during the day, try to go out in the evening when you get the chance.
If you’re working during lunch, regardless of whether you’re working remotely from a coffee shop with a friend or with other freelancers, it’s classed as working hours, so note it down.
It’s also a good idea to save any receipts you spend on food so you can put this against your tax.
Don’t Rule Out Client Meetings
Meetings may already be a regular part of your schedule, but if not, consider spending more personal face-to-face time with your clients, partners, and the people you work with on a regular basis.
By doing this you can break up your day and divide it into physical project work and discussion-based work.
It also gets you out of the office for a change of scenery and enables progress making that is not always possible through direct email or a shared online space for collaboration on project management.
Not all of these ideas are right for you, as different freelancers have different settings and limitations. But if you feel the office atmosphere is lacking, find out what you can do to change it.
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