For many people, being self-employed seems like the perfect route to happiness and prosperity. While I agree that many people could be much happier working for themselves, being self-employed does have some downsides.
One of my favorite blogs, Web Worker Daily, has published a great post called “5 Things You’ll Miss by Not Working In An Office.” They’re mostly talking about telecommuting, but these issues also apply to self-employed people. The issues covered in the article are annoying, but probably not enough to keep anyone from pursuing self-employment. Also, they can all be solved or mitigated with some creativity.
Here are 5 ways to get over the things you’ll miss by not working in an office:
Thing you’ll miss: watercooler chit-chat
How to get over it: use technology to your advantage. There are so many ways to communicate with people without being face-to-face these days. From Skype to instant messaging to Facebook to Twitter, you can have short conversations with people from anywhere. If you really miss or need the face-to-face conversations, invite someone to coffee or lunch. You’ll probably have a more meaningful conversation there than you would in front of the watercooler anyways.
Thing you’ll miss: set starting and finishing times
How to get over it: it’s true that some people find it difficult know when to stop working if it isn’t dictated by office culture. But not having starting and finishing times also means you can work when you feel most creative, or when your schedule allows for it. If you’re working too many hours, you might want to take up an escape mechanism to make sure you maintain a health work-life balance.
Thing you’ll miss: a good reason to get up
How to get over it: when working in an office, there are constantly things requiring you to get up and out of your chair. If you work at home, you may find yourself sitting for hours at a time without getting up. To get over this, try setting some regular times where you have to go somewhere, like to lunch, or a coffee shop or the gym.
Thing you’ll miss: the ability to corner people in the kitchen
How to get over it: if a string of emails, phone calls and instant messages don’t get someone to respond to your need, will cornering them in person really get them to act any faster? If you really have to corner and harass people for things, you should consider if what you’re working on is really that important. Also, if you’re self employed and someone isn’t getting back to you, you’ll probably be able to find a new resource.
Thing you’ll miss: the boss
How to get over it: isn’t this the point of being self-employed? In an office setting, bosses are often required to make sure people stay on task and motivated. If you’re working for yourself, hopefully you’ve chosen projects that keep you naturally motivated because of your interest in the topic and/or outcomes.
If all else fails and you just can’t stand being away from an office, you might want to look into coworking.
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photo by allaboutgeorge