BANTER WITH COLLEAGUES JUST AS IMPORTANT AS A CHRISTMAS BONUS

Online accountancy firm Crunch introduces office podcasts and digital work colleague to fend off loneliness this December

  • Self-employed are most likely to feel isolated and lonely in the week leading up to Christmas
  • Socialising with colleagues is missed as much as the Christmas bonus – 52% miss at least one aspect of the office environment during this time
  • To combat this, online accountancy firm Crunch has produced a series of water cooler moment podcasts for the self-employed community

Up to 70% of the UK’s 4.9 million strong army of self-employed anticipate grafting entirely alone throughout the Christmas period. A fifth also admit that working alone has made them less likely to enjoy the festive season.

As the Christmas party season gets into full swing next week, a new report from online accountancy firm Crunch, has found that 79% of self-employed workers in the UK believe water cooler moments, such as office party gossip, offer a real benefit, and almost half miss these moments during the festive period.

To combat the quiet times that many self-employed workers face during this period, Crunch has created Crunch Chat, a number of podcasts featuring office water cooler moments. The podcasts and report are available to download today from www.crunch.co.uk/safety-in-numbers

Key highlights from the Safety in Numbers report include:

  • Almost a quarter miss socialising with colleagues at Christmas; 41% admit that they miss office banter when working by themselves
  • Christmas time highlights that many self-employed people don’t take a break: a fifth don’t typically take a holiday in December at all, while three in ten have worked on Christmas day
  • Social isolation and loneliness is worse for self-employed workers during December and the Christmas period; the week leading up to Christmas (18th to 24th) is when they are most likely to feel isolated and have a sense of missing out.
  • The water cooler moments that self-employed workers miss the most include general office banter (46%), discussing weekend or evening plans (33%), talking through work ideas (32%) and talking about TV (29%)

Jessica Richards, owner of The Secret Garden Florist in Somerset, said: “Christmas is one of my busiest periods, and interestingly it’s one of the loneliest. You miss out on things you didn’t even think would be an issue like, Christmas work dinners, events at companies and even after work drinks. I never feel Christmassy anymore and all the years blend into one.”

There are certain things self-employed workers don’t miss about the office environment during the festive season however, including:

  • The self-employed save on average £87.73 each in December by not being involved in traditional Christmas festivities, such as Secret Santa and after work drinks
  • Least missed activities include karaoke, small talk and having to be polite to colleagues

To make sure the self-employed community have someone to talk to this festive period, Crunch is also working with comedian David Morgan on Crunch Hour, a daily dose of interactive chat, taking place 6th – 8th December on Twitter.

Darren Fell, Founder and CEO of Crunch, said: “We understand how exhilarating it can be to run your own business, but we also know that there are challenges. Crunch Chat podcasts, and Crunch Hour, are our way of bringing water-cooler moments to those who need it most.”

Crunch has also released the following, easy to implement advice, to minimise incidents of loneliness amongst this workforce:

  • Join a network group; This offers a chance to meet other professionals working alone, and you can meet in person or online, providing the ideal opportunity to bounce ideas off someone else and boost motivation.
  • Share spaces; As self-employment grows, shared office spaces are popping up all over the country. These offer freelancers the chance to get those much-desired water cooler moments.
  • Meet your clients; Stop just relying on emails. Pick up the phone, or visit your clients in person. Bounce ideas off them, and show your emotional side, enabling you to build better relationships.
  • Stay active; If you are working from home, it’s important to get out every day and get some fresh air, at any time.
  • Maintain variety; Don’t fall into the self-employed rut; mix up when you carry out your tasks at home. Rather than working in your home office, go and work in a different coffee shop each week to keep your environment varied.

To download the Safety in Numbers report, and Crunch Chat podcasts, visit: www.crunch.co.uk/safety-in-numbers

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