This is another guest blog post from a lovely lady I know from Twitter, Catherine. I’ve always imagined that if we met up we’d natter for hours and hours about all sorts of stuff. She comes across as very organised and dependable – she’s a Virtual Assistant who helps other businesses keep their paperwork in order. In this post she talks about working from home and offers a few tips on how to cope with being alone all day.
Working From Home – How Do You Cope with Isolation?
If you’re reading this blog, there’s every chance you could be one of this country’s many women who make money working from home. I’m a virtual assistant specialising in transcription services and I started my business at the end of 2010. Now, I admit that it was a lifestyle choice for me – at the time, my son was six and my daughter was two, and I knew when I finished maternity leave for the second time that there was no way I could go back into the ‘traditional’ workplace, so I chose to work for myself. I know I couldn’t have made this step without the support of my husband and his full time job, but now that both of my children are at school, I’m hoping to be able to start making a proper financial contribution to the family purse.
However, working from home comes with the dreaded issue of isolation. How do you cope with working on your own if you’ve been used to the social connections of the workplace, the chat around the kettle, someone to bounce ideas off, even the drinks on a Friday night?
If you’ve just started a business or even if you’ve been building your business for a while, it’s always worth finding local networking groups to attend on a regular basis. I’m noticing a lot more groups appearing that hold meetings at lunchtimes and in the evenings, which is much more helpful if you have children at school. It’s probably worth trying to attend one or two events a month if you can and it’s important to remember not to go in with the mindset that you’re going to get business immediately, but to meet people and start to develop relationships with those in your local business community.
Make a point of arranging to meet a friend once a week for a coffee or a cuppa. Even better if it’s a friend who also works from home, as you can swap ideas about how you plan your days, when you find yourself most productive and what you’re struggling with. When you work on your own, issues can easily become big problems if you don’t have anybody to share them with, and just having that sounding board can be a great help.
Depending on what work you do, there are a lot of drop in ‘hub’ centres opening up nowadays where you can hire a workspace for a few hours and work alongside others for a spell. Or why not take your laptop to your local library or café for a change of scenery, if that’s practical?
Or if all else fails, there’s always chatting on Facebook! 🙂
Catherine Poole, Virtual Assistant