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Freelancing from home or your own private office can seem like the ideal work life. You set the hours, you choose the work, your favourite biscuits are never far away and there’s a distinct lack of bothersome bosses and irritating colleagues. However, there’s also a distinct lack of companionship and camaraderie.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Freelancer

Loneliness is the downside to working on your own; the side that non-freelancers rarely consider. There’s nobody to ask you how your weekend was or offer to make you another coffee when you’ve got a streaming cold. Nobody to ask for tips on how to persuade the printer that it isn’t really offline and it can print that document any time it wants.

In short… freelancing on your own can be darn LONELY. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it.

Stay in touch online

While social media and online chats can be a distraction, there’s no doubt that if you can discipline yourself to use them wisely, they can be a great way of interacting with others and staying in touch – whether with friends, people in the same industry or other people working from home. Seek out freelance forums and social media groups that are happy for you drop in for a chat.

Network

Local or industry-specific business groups; associations; professional bodies – they are all likely to have meetings, talks and possibly purely social activities on their calendar. Get involved and they may not only provide some much-needed face-to-face, out-of the house interaction, but also useful business contacts or training too.

Do lunch (or coffee)

If you were working in a busy office, you would probably go out now and then with colleagues, whether it was a evening birthday bash at a local restaurant or a lunchtime trip to the local sandwich bar for a change of scenery. It can feel oddly indulgent and foolish to do this kind of thing when you work by yourself and for yourself, but you deserve a treat occasionally – and a break from the routine now and then will help to keep you sane.

If you can find a fellow freelancer or business acquaintance to have lunch with, then great. If you can’t, grab a book, newspaper or your tablet and head for a local pub, cafe or hotel lounge and enjoy watching the world go by for a while as you tuck into something tasty – something you didn’t make yourself out of what was left in the cupboard.

Consider a Shared Working Space or Rent-A-Desk Scheme

Co-working spaces are becoming a Big Thing and can be more practical and sociable than tucking yourself away in the corner of a cafe and hoping someone will talk to you. You may choose to permanently share an office or rent desk space, or there are schemes that allow you to rent a desk in a shared working space on certain days each week – or even on random days, booked in advance. Availability will of course depend on where you live, but if there’s not a scheme nearby, you could consider placing an advert locally asking if anyone has spare desk space in their office.

If they do, chances are they’ll jump at the chance of making a little cash. Or you could approach this the other way round and ask if anyone is interested in co-renting an office space with you.

Do be aware, however, that if you rent a desk in someone else’s office or rent out your own office space, there may be insurance issues to consider. For instance, if you use a desk in the office of a local company and their insurance only covers employees, what happens if you hurt yourself while you’re there? Always ensure that you and anyone else in the office are covered in the event of an accident – and for damage or loss of equipment and furniture.

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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