How to Enjoy the Freedom of Working from Home Without Getting Lonely
Being a freelancer is wonderful. The flexible schedule, working from home, more vacation, being your own boss, and running your own business all make freelancing a great way to earn a living. But while being on your own boss has its perks, sometimes it can feel isolating and lonely. But luckily, as more and more of us turn to freelancing, more opportunities for mingling with other self-employed workers are popping up.
Freelancing and the Gig Economy: An Office of One
The so-called “gig economy” is growing in all sectors of the economy. It’s expected that by 2020, 40 percent of all workers will be independently employed. Today workers value flexibility even more than security or income. Plus, it’s easier for companies to hire independent contractors than it is employees. And as a result, no matter your career, you’re more likely than ever to be doing it from home. While the peace and quiet of a home office (or kitchen table), depending on where you call home, is certainly appealing, it can get lonesome. Working from home can make you feel isolated and if you’re not careful, you may fall short on social interaction.
Not to mention that creativity is often born out of community. In other words, often, our best ideas come when we’re brainstorming with others. Research published in Creativity Research Journal found that surrounding yourself with interesting people can boost creativity. The study also found that broadening your knowledge of other subjects could also increase your creativity and productivity. Changing your perspective by exploring outside of your home office is also helpful.
Want to find community as a freelancer? Here are some tips:
1. Join a co-work space.
These are all the rage for those that work from home. Co-working spaces are turning up in cities across the country. These basic offices supply start-ups and independent employees alike with WiFi, outlets, and all the basics that you need in a workspace. The rent is usually minimal, but it allows the freelancers of the world to have an office space to call home. You can interact as much or as little as you like. Feel the vibe of your city’s entrepreneurial spirit by joining a co-working space.
2. Join applicable associations.
Are you a blogger who’s tired of plugging away all day long by yourself? No worries, you’re not alone in this growing industry. Meet your virtual colleagues by joining an association. The International Bloggers’ Association is an obvious choice for bloggers but other, more local networking opportunities are also available. Attending meetings and conferences isn’t just good for socializing and chatting with like-minded individuals, it can motivate and boost your creative spirit. No matter your industry, make an effort to meet your colleagues far and wide.
3. Interview your mentors.
As a freelance writer, one of the best ways to stay social is to interview people. Reporting is almost always better than online research and it gives you an opportunity to meet new people. Even if you’re not a writer, you can still reach out to those that have been in your field longer and learn from them. Take a cue from producer Brian Grazer and start your own curiosity interviews with people you admire.
4. Travel, travel, travel.
Freelancers have a unique opportunity when it comes to vacation. They make their own! Take your company on the road. Research published in the Academy of Management Journal has shown that seeing new places is really good for keeping your brain working efficiently. New atmospheres can boost creativity and being around different people can help you think in new and different ways. Not to mention that there’s no better way to understand the world that you live in than by seeing it firsthand. And you can also meet up with your colleagues abroad. If you’re a travel writer, for example, you can meet up with other travel writers worldwide and get ideas.
5. Regular a coffee shop.
Coffee shops are the ultimate community workspaces. Your colleagues don’t always have to be in your industry. In fact, getting to know regulars at a coffee shop can make you feel like you’re part of a community. It’s especially helpful in the morning if your partner or spouse goes to an office. Leaving for your local coffee shop can make you feel like you’re on a schedule, which can keep your productivity up.
Are you a freelancer that’s yearning for some community? Drop us a line via Twitter @EcoSalon.
Image of a woman via Shuttershock
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