The Benefits of Social Interaction When You’re Self-Employed

By Angela Tague, Contributor, on March 6, 2017

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I started out as a stereotypical freelancer: I worked in my pajamas from a home office and didn’t realize when I forgot to brush my hair. My canine coworkers didn’t care about my appearance or if I wore the same T-shirt two days in a row.

As my client list grew, so did my hermit tendencies. I’d work day after day, growing my business, and finally come out of my office on the weekends to socialize with friends and family. Eventually, I realized I was lonely. I was missing the benefits of social interaction traditional employees take for granted each day. Random chitchat before digging into the workday, office birthday parties and after-work drinks with the coworkers were never on my schedule.

So, I made changes. I told myself I had to leave the house at least once a day, every single day of the week, so I could get some fresh air and interact with people.

Breaking up Your Workday

For the last three years, I’ve been taking a work-day break at the local gym. I alternate between time in the pool and classes on my yoga mat. I’ve not only shed some extra weight and improved my strength, I’ve also participated in many holiday parties, exchanged birthday cards and formed long-lasting friendships.

Sometimes, I mix up my day by tackling a daytime run to the grocery store, going to a veterinary appointment for my dogs or meeting a girlfriend for a lunch date. I get away from my desk, interact with people in person and feel less isolated in my day-to-day online work routine.

Mixing up Your Workplace

I get bored sitting at my desk in the same quiet surroundings all the time. That’s when I pack up my laptop and work off site. My local library has beautiful open spaces with comfortable tables and chairs, where I can watch people coming and going as I work through another article draft. Sometimes, I take a break and browse the fiction for my next literary indulgence or chat with the librarian about new book arrivals.

I’m also fortunate to live within walking distance of a small cafe with the most decadent homemade hot chocolate. The shop is tucked inside the lobby of a local medical center and the receptionists like to ask about my current writing projects or who I’m interviewing that afternoon. I think they enjoy the visits as much as I do!

All these social interactions are every bit as rewarding as having chatty coworkers and company potlucks to attend. Since overhauling my schedule, I’ve improved both my physical and mental health. My circle of friends has grown, I’ve discovered a passion for yoga and, most importantly, the benefits of social interaction helped me become a more productive businesswoman with a refreshed focus when it’s time to get work done.

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