To most, the freelance lifestyle may seem so alluring. No morning traffic, being your own boss, working in your pyjamas or without pants, deciding your own schedule, and not tightly bound by a 9-5 time frame.
How to combat isolation when working from home
As a work-at-home mum (WAHM), my friends who are still trapped in their 9-5 lives often tell me how envious they are of my laptop lifestyle. Agreed, my remote work has tremendous benefits - the biggest being the freedom it comes with. However, there’s also a huge drawback: the loneliness and isolation of working alone.
When I started working from home five years ago, I was excited, I could schedule my work hours around my family and had no boss to answer to. After one year or so, the loneliness started hitting me. I was missing the camaraderie of my ex-colleagues, the joy of dressing up. I was in my pyjamas all day, except occasionally when I had to step out for a meeting. In my attempt to build my freelance business, I was spending more time on my work desk and Facebook groups.
My only adult interaction was limited to my son’s caretaker in kindy, or the occasional mums I would bump into during pick-up. Though my business was growing, I was feeling lonelier and isolated. I felt cut off from the outside world - as if I was leading a hermit’s life.
The only difference was that as a digital marketer, I was in a virtual jungle. I remember telling this to a friend and she thought I was a little crazy. ‘You don’t know what I’d do to be in your shoes?’ she said. Was I being ungrateful? Was I really going crazy? Why am I feeling envious when she tells me about another office meet-up after work on a Friday night? Such conflicting thoughts crossed my mind. For a while I was even embarrassed to talk about my solitude and isolation to others.
In my heart of hearts, I knew there was a problem. I was doing well as far as my freelance business was concerned, but somewhere I was not enjoying this success. I needed to get out of this feeling of just communicating with people in Facebook groups (whom I hadn’t met) or exchanging emails with my clients.
I knew I had to act before this became a big issue. I was left with a nagging question: was it only me, or did others who worked on their own also feel the same?
Thus, began my journey of connecting with others in the same ship.
Here are my tips for combatting isolation as a solopreneur, WAHM or freelancer:
The struggles of working alone are real. Best is to accept them and find a way out.
But now, it’s time to take a shower and step out for a coffee. So, how do you fight your battle when working in isolation?