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How contractors can ward off loneliness

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Thursday 16th Mar, 2017

Making the move to become a limited company contractor or freelancer can be very freeing for workers who have previously been tied to an office-based nine-to-five schedule.

Working for themselves gives contractors the freedom to choose their own working hours and set their own pay rates, which together can lead to an improved work-life balance.

But many contractors work on their own from home and, thanks to the amazing advances in technology that we have, don't necessarily have any interaction with other people throughout their working day. As a result, contractors can sometimes feel a little isolated.

So, what can be done to prevent this from happening?

How much of a problem is working alone for contractors?

According to research carried out by Acas, 20 per cent of the UK's homeworkers admit to occasionally feeling lonely or isolated. This figure is expected to grow further as flexible working options become increasingly popular and more people choose to work by themselves from home.

With this in mind, AXA PPP Healthcare has produced a new infographic providing some tips on warding off loneliness for contractors and freelancers.

Eugene Farrell, head of trauma support services at AXA PPP Healthcare, commented: "We spend roughly 90,000 hours of our lives working and when an average of 38 hours per week spent interacting in a workplace disappears, some people can find it hard to adjust."

With this in mind, how can personal service company contractors and freelancers prevent themselves from feeling isolated while working on their own at home?

How not to feel isolated

AXA PPP Healthcare suggests that if workers know they are going to be on their own for the day, they should plan out their time to space out the interaction they have with other people.

For example, phone calls and Skype meetings, rather than just email, can be used to build a professional relationships with clients and can provide a greater level of social interaction.

Another tip contractors can use is to leave the house for breaks wherever possible to increase interaction with other people, as well as get some valuable exercise in and some fresh air, which should lead to improved productivity levels later in the day.

If the weather is too bad, social networking can help homeworkers to interact with others. Limited company contractors should share their opinions on LinkedIn articles or join in business-related Twitter chats to make themselves feel more engaged with others. This online interaction could also help to boost their profile with prospective clients.

Networking events and conferences can also help with this, as can taking advantage of the growing number of collaborative working hubs that are cropping up across the UK's cities. Disused offices and retail outlets are increasingly being converted into co-working hubs where freelancers and other homeworkers can bring their own device, use the Wi-Fi and share company and creative ideas with others in a similar position to themselves.

Some people love the peace and quiet that working alone from home provides them with, but arranging social engagements or even just a walk outside for the evening can help to prevent that feeling of being cooped up indoors.

Contracting offers the benefit of working wherever and whenever an individual chooses to, so those who work from home should set themselves a time to finish each day and stick to it as much as possible to enable them to achieve that much-coveted better work-life balance.

Engaging the services of a limited company service provider like PayStream can help with this final point too. PayStream's limited company service My PSC can provide help and advice with the administrative side of running a personal service company, allowing contractors to spend more time completing their workload and on the parts of the job they enjoy most.
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