Feeling more connected as a freelancer

How are you feeling today?

Seriously, we’re curious to know. Is everything going OK?

And, forget about work for a moment – what else have you been up to recently? Did you see the game on TV last night? Do you have any plans for the weekend?

To many people who work day-to-day in an office, these kinds of questions might seem pretty tedious – just the sort of small talk we get caught up in each morning when we arrive at work, or during our lunch break, or when one of our colleagues decides to join us for a chat.

But, for a freelancer, even a simple “how are you feeling today?” can often seem like a luxury. And, we understand full well just how lonely it might feel at times to be working remotely.

Sure, freelancing life has a lot of benefits. It gives us freedom to set our own hours, work on projects that we are passionate about, and the ability to create from pretty much anywhere we feel comfortable – whether that is at home, in our favourite café, or in our own little monster cave (just as long as the WiFi is good!).

In fact, a lot of our team here will tell you that they really wouldn’t want to work in any other way.

Yet, in spite of all these benefits, there can be some drawbacks too. Particularly when it comes to social connections, which can be so essential for our overall mental health.

Often, the freedom that comes with freelancing can also bring struggles with loneliness, a lack of focus, and a general feeling of isolation too – simply because we no longer have the luxury of that quick, five-minute catch up with a colleague to break up the day, or that sense of belonging that comes with working among the same group of colleagues in the same space each and every day.

Also, let’s be honest, having colleagues on hand to support can be vital for easing pressures, especially when it comes to dealing with demanding deadlines (or clients).

No matter how experienced we are in our work, there will always be times when we feel stuck, or in need of additional support. But, once again, it is often so hard as a freelancer to know just who to turn to for advice. So, we simply internalise that stress, and continue “going it alone”, which is never a good idea for anyone’s long-term mental wellbeing.

Fortunately, as remote working has become more common in the last couple of years, a lot of companies have now started to look at ways of helping freelancers to feel more connected.

However, we’d like to think we’re already ahead of the game in this respect: since Day One, building a community vibe for our employees has been one of our biggest priorities.

We want everyone who works with us to truly feel part of a team, no matter if they are full time, part time, or freelancing – everyone has their own valuable place in the Monsterverse.

That is why we set up our wonderful Word Monster Chat on Skype, to serve as a kind of virtual staff room, open for all employees, including freelancers.

Skype is our place for day-to-day support or work-related questions – with our core team of friendly monsters always more than happy to offer guidance wherever they can. But, beyond that, it is also a space for conversation, collaboration, and, more often than not, just a good laugh! All of which helps create that aforementioned team spirit – regardless of where in the world we are working from.

But it’s not just our group chat that helps us to foster this feeling of community – oh no, we have a number of other initiatives to help us to feel more connected.

Our online social events and games nights are always a big hit (if we do say so ourselves!), offering the chance for us all to get to know each other better outside of working hours.

And, on top of this, we have also recently started holding monthly wellbeing sessions – again, free for both core team members and freelancers to attend – where we encourage all of our monsters to take some time out and practice some self-care (so far, we’ve tried yoga and mindfulness, with many more events lined up for the future.)

So, while we understand how easy it can be to feel alone as a freelancer, we hope to continue leading the way as an example of how a remote team can still feel like a close-knit community – because we want everyone who works with us to feel part of the Monster family.