Working alone sounds great. No one steals the last cup of coffee, and there’s no boss telling you to get to work. There’s one big catch. Self-employed people often suffer from isolation. You may have limited opportunities to interact with others. This can become quite uncomfortable after a while. Before you start talking to your plant, take control of the situation.
Find ways to spend time with others:
1. If you work at home, consider getting an outside office. If you can afford it, consider getting an office in a building with a view or a balcony. You’ll have more chances to chat with your fellow building-dwellers.
2. Stay in touch with your friends. Your old work friends don’t have to stop being your friends just because you work alone now. It’s easy to lose track of each other. Make an effort to stay in touch with those you like. It’s harder to make new friends when you don’t see the same people repeatedly.
Send an email or make a phone call at least once a week to stay in touch.
3. Find others who are self-employed. You’re not the only one feeling isolated. Take advantage of social media and find others just like yourself and connect.
Skype can be a good compromise if you want to communicate with someone outside your city.
4. Look into networking opportunities. There are meetup groups, business networks, and other opportunities to get together (Via Zoom meetings too) with other like-minded people. You might even grow your business through these activities. Go to meetup.com and get started.
5. Avoid eating lunch alone. Everyone eats lunch. Be on a mission to find an endless supply of lunch partners. Between your networking groups, friends, family, neighbors, old friends, and the trusty internet, you should be able to find plenty of willing lunch partners, even for virtual lunches.
6. Consider getting a pet. A fish or cat might be more your style, but normally dogs are more interactive. Your furry friend will always be happy to see you. The cat might not care much. No one understands just how smart you are more than your dog.
7. Create a routine. It sounds counterintuitive, but having a stable routine can help to overcome feelings of isolation. It’s easy to just sit and look out the window when you’re working alone the whole day. Having a schedule helps prevent this. You’ll also know when your next dose of human contact is coming. Make a routine and force yourself to stick with it.
9. Spend time with your clients. If you have local clients, get out of the office and stop by for a visit. They’d probably welcome a short break. You’ll maintain valuable relationships and boost your social life.
Isolation and self-employment don’t have to go hand-in-hand.
With a little planning, you can find plenty of people to share part of your day. You don’t have to suffer just because you’ve decided to work at home. There are options for enjoying regular human contact. Take advantage of them and leave your isolation behind.