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Working from home can be wonderful. It can save time and money on travel; it can mean you are around for childcare emergencies; and it can reduce the stress of rushing against traffic to be on time for pick-ups. However, the downside is that it can be potentially socially isolating.
A new study highlights the benefits. The Epson EcoTank survey of 1,000 UK freelancers found that most (91%) worked from home at least some of the time. When asked why they had chosen to freelance or work remotely, respondents said that a better work/life balance (53%) and greater flexibility (62%) were among their reasons; some said they wanted to avoid working in an office, which they found stressful (47%).
However, it also shows that 48% admitted to finding it ‘lonely’ and 46% said homeworking was ‘isolating’. Some 32% of respondents said they missed office banter and 29% missed being part of a team.
A quarter of respondents had experienced frequent periods of depression, and around a fifth claimed that the loneliness of remote working had caused them to have suicidal thoughts.
It has some tips for remote workers who are feeling the isolation of working as a team of one:
This could be a former colleague, friend, business contact or fellow freelancer. The important thing is to punctuate the working day with some good company.
Many towns and regions have business networking groups; find them through your local/industry press or on LinkedIn. Although many have a web presence, they often hold in-person meetings and events, too. You may even find a peer to collaborate with.
If you have the right technologies and apps, and they are quite easy to come by now, you can work more or less anywhere, including areas where people congregate such as cafés and libraries.
There are many freelancer forums and industry-specific networking groups and forums online, the trick is to find one that suits you. Once you’ve done that, you always have somewhere to go for a chat.