With the ease of the internet for telecommuting, many people are switching over to freelancing from the comfort of their own homes. Freelancing often gives people flexibility and freedom they never had in an office.
But many people who switch to working from home find that they miss the camaraderie and community of a workplace. Working at home requires more discipline to stay motivated, and even more introverted personalities may have trouble focusing.
21% of office workers work from home at least once a week on a regular basis, according to A YouGov poll from 2010. 65% of homeworkers, however, are self-employed. Often, these freelancers are the ones hit hardest by feelings of isolation and loneliness.
People who work from home might be less likely to go out and experience feelings of social awkwardness when they do, even if they’re usually social people. This can come largely from the lack of regular small talk that comes with working from home. Strong extroverts have an especially difficult time staying in a work-at-home setting, though some introverts may find it pleasant.
Working from home also cuts people off from others who they can discuss their work problems with. This leads to a buildup of stress and frustration. Freelancers can look into group therapy or online support groups if they need someone to talk to.
Moving may also be a good option. Larger cities with creative reputations often have more opportunities for freelancers to interact with each other. Average Americans move about 11.7 times in their life, and one out of every six people moves every year, so it’s not unusual to relocate if you’re not getting the social support you need.
Developing a network of other freelance and home-based workers can be a great way to avoid feeling lonely. Lunch and coffee meet-ups provide perfect opportunities for workers to vent or swap advice. Those with trouble connecting can consult local business networking groups to find other freelancers.
Experts recommend talking on the phone or Skype once in a while instead of just sending emails, and getting out of the home office at least once a week for a change of scenery.