Got The Blues? Use Loneliness To Your Advantage
Working in the gig economy may have its perks, but being a lone ranger can get a little lonely.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
The gig economy surely has a lot of advantages — being your own boss and not being beholden to any company or schedule, among them — but it has its share of downsides.
Sometimes working solo, especially for entrepreneurs and freelancers, can be lonesome. Some freelancers miss working with a team and throwing ideas around during meetings. While for others, it can be disheartening to feel that a once-strong bond, with an office friend they used to spend time with every day, dwindles.
According to a survey published in this article, nearly one-third of small business owners feel lonely at work, compared to a mere 15 percent of non-entrepreneurs. “Of those entrepreneurs who are lonely, 42 percent work alone in an office, shop, or home office, while 30 percent have employees but don’t feel connected to them,” writes John Swanciger.
The good news is that there are remedies for the blues. When loneliness hits, here are ways to make your work days better:
1. Socialize and join communities.
As a freelance writer, Maan Pamaran relates that being alone is not a problem. “Since most of my work is done by interviewing people or attending press conferences, I use those events as outlets to socialize,” she explains.
Liana Smith-Bautista, a freelancer based in Cebu, says the number one hack for her is to join freelancing communities. “I’m part of the Freelance Blenders group by Marvin de Leon and the Freelancers in the Philippines (FLIP) group by Jason Dulay. Both are very active and have monthly meet-ups for fun and networking,” she says. Even with Freelance Blend based out of Manila, Bautista says the organization is very active on Facebook and Facebook Messenger. “FLIP is nationwide and there are meet-ups in Manila, Rizal, Cebu, etc.,” she shares.
2. Get a life!
Freelance writer Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza shares there is a tendency to blend one’s career and personal life when working remotely. Says Lagorza, “When you work from home, it gets hard to achieve that work-life balance because what else can you do if your work [and home] share the same space?”
To remedy the situation, Lagorza makes it a point to get out of the house. “I plan a dinner date with my husband, go to Bible study, or have Friday drinks with friends. Thankfully, there’s Facebook chat as well, which helps me connect with others on a daily basis,” she says.
A freelancer in the advertising industry, Andrea (not her real name) shares that since she works from home, she plays music and sings along. “When I’m discouraged, I listen to Hanson’s I Was Born. It’s upbeat and motivates me to do something with purpose. [When that doesn’t cut it], I take little breaks by playing with my pets which are like my kids. I also talk with friends online and watch short videos,” she shares.
3. Enroll in workshops and classes.
Workshops and classes do wonders for most professionals, career-wise, but for freelancers and entrepreneurs, they help ease the isolation. “They’re pretty affordable and help in furthering a hobby or building a new skill. Plus points is you get to meet new people,” shares Lagorza.
4. Try coworking spaces.
Coworking spaces have been sprouting up in cities like Manila and Singapore. Most of these modern and tastefully-designed spaces provide resources for freelancers like unlimited coffee and internet. They also allow freelancers to mingle and get to know others in their community, and can even be a source of more part-time projects and opportunities.
5. View the isolation as an advantage.
There are times when working in your lonesome can be an advantage. Pamaran says she needs her alone time when writing during ungodly hours or when stuck in heavy traffic. “That’s when ideas come to me,” she says.