I admit it: after close to a year of being a full-time freelancer and home-based small business owner, sometimes, I start to get restless. Some days, I wish I had coworkers around to chat and brainstorm with. And I was always incredibly lucky to have great coworkers to work with when I’ve been an employee!
However, there are definitely some things that I do not miss about working in an office environment and having coworkers. Here are some of them:
1) Icebreakers at meetings. I really truly enjoy networking and attending social events and hanging out with people, even if I am an introvert. But icebreakers? No thanks. I don’t like how contrived they feel, and how they force me to interact with people in a specific way. Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with those anymore as a freelancer.
2) Unnecessary meetings. While we’re on the subject of doing silly icebreakers at meetings, let’s talk about unnecessary meetings. I’m all for meeting in person and hashing things out, but I’ve also wasted a lot of time over the years at meetings when they weren’t even needed, or the person who called the meeting didn’t really know what the meeting should be about, or the people I was supposed to be meeting would arrive 15 minutes late. As a freelancer, meetings are set up with so much more intention. And if the other person arrives late, there are always things to do in the meantime!
3) The balance between sending an email and walking over to someone’s desk. Ugggghhhh. This annoyed me so much as an employee: trying to figure out when you should send an email or when you should just walk over to someone else and talk to them in person.
This was especially frustrating because everyone in our office had so many jobs to do, and sometimes it would be easier to just walk over and ask them a quick question, but other times you’d end up interrupting their work flow and you’d feel bad. Or else you’d send an email, but you’d end up needing to send a dozen emails back and forth because new questions would arise and by the end of it, you both could have saved so much more time by meeting in person. It’s so much better, as a freelancer, to create structured meetings.
Freelancing means not needing to deal with these annoyances of working at a 9 to 5 job…
4) Messy or unorganized behavior. While you can’t completely avoid unorganized client behavior (in terms of online files and the like), at least as a freelancer you don’t have to deal with it in person! I’m not the tidiest or most organized person in the world, but it would drive me crazy when people put office supplies in the wrong drawer, or didn’t make a note of using the last of a specific supply, etc. It’s nice to work in your own space and deal with your own mess and organizational capacity.