Let’s face it. Freelancing can be a lonely business. Especially if your work involves a laptop and a home office. I’ve been doing it for nine years and sometimes when I’ve been really busy, I haven’t seen another human face for days.
Whether you used to work in a traditional office or not, as a freelancer you’re probably going to miss the people, conversation and social life that you get with a 9 to 5 job. Even if the only thing you had in common with your colleagues was the job.
Yes, working alone can make you feel really isolated, but it’s easily fixed. Here are my five tips.
This is an easy one. If the only other human face you see all day is on a screen, you really should get out more. Take a break. Walk to the park. Go to the shop. Go for a run. Anything to get outside and mix with other people. You don’t have to have a long conversation with anyone. Just a few words or a smile when you buy a coffee will make you feel more connected.
Going outside also gets you away from the screen, clears your head and leaves you fresh for the rest of the day. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
Make a lunch date
When you worked 9 to 5, lunch was probably either a sandwich at your desk or an escape to the pub. As a freelancer, you should allow yourself to enjoy a proper break. Arrange a lunch date with a friend. Take your sandwiches to the park, or swap the pub for a cafe.
Catching up with a friend over lunch will not only remind you that you have friends; it will also give you a break from work while you talk about something else. Like going outside, it will re-energise you for the afternoon.
Meet local freelancers
If it’s colleagues that you miss, look for local freelancer groups on social media. Facebook is good for this. And if you can’t find a group, set up your own. Apart from beating loneliness, meeting other freelancers can mean new contacts, more work and sharing ideas.
If you miss the office environment but want to keep your independence, look for local office shares. Gumtree is a good place to start. Sometimes freelancers get together and rent an office space to work in because it’s more sociable than spending all day at home alone. You get the benefits of a traditional office environment – noise, colleagues, friends – without the downside of having a boss.
Join a group
Lots of people make friends through work. So if you work alone, you have to make more of an effort. A great way of meeting new people is to choose something you’re interested in and find a local group.
You can dust off your trainers and join a fitness class or sports team. Or try something new like a choir, a dance class, or a drawing group. Think of something you’ve always wanted to try and check Facebook and MeetUp for groups in your area. You never know what you might get into or who you might meet. You might even find a second career.
Become a volunteer
If you can spare a couple of hours a week, volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and make a difference. There are so many opportunities these days and they are easy to find. You could read to primary school children, plant trees, run activities in a retirement home, or work in a charity shop. The list is almost endless.
Do-it advertises a wide range of vacancies, or you can contact organisations directly. If you’re into music, check out Gig Buddies. They match volunteers to adults with learning disabilities so they can go to gigs together.
Now, put away the laptop, go outside, meet people and have fun!
Have we missed anything? Share your tips in the comments section below!
About the Author
Amanda Allen is a freelance writer and editor who can fashion a silk purse out of any old content. Her considerable experience across a wide range of publishing platforms and subjects means she can help almost any client with almost any job. Visit her PPH profile and see if she can help with yours.
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