Paul has worked in a variety of roles over the years, both as part of a team, and solo. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.
While the phenomenon of people working independently is nothing new, numbers have grown in recent years, as improvements in technology have meant that many people who would previously have worked in a group or office situation now often find themselves working independently. Working solo can present many challenges, but this article lists and examines the main positives.
I have worked both solo and as part of a team in a varied working life of nearly forty years, and know the differences well. This list of advantages is not intended to be exhaustive, but I do believe that it includes all the main benefits of working independently.
10 Advantages of Working Individually
Here are the 10 main positives associated with working solo.
- No Team Meetings
- Reduced Distractions
- Time Management Control
- More Relaxed Environment
- No Manager Watching Over
- Not Reliant on Others
- No Stress of Managing Others
- Sole Responsibility
- Reduced Conflicts
- Innovation Boost
I examine each benefit in more detail below.
1. No Team Meetings
Many of us have endured unproductive and seemingly pointless team meetings, and sat through them knowing that our energies could be focused in more productive pursuits. It's not just the attendance that sucks up time and energy, resources are spent on the planning, preparation, traveling, reporting, and action taking associated with meetings. Working solo can avoid many negatives and be more efficient, as well as fulfilling.
2. Reduced Distractions
You may want to focus on your own workload, but all sorts of interruptions and hinderances can occur when you work with others. There can be interference from co-workers who want to chat to you, gossip, or seek your opinion on something trivial. There can be co-workers loudly coming and going from the workplace, or indulging in noisy telephone conversations nearby. You can find yourself having to answer the phone, or door on behalf of others who are absent or busy.
3. Time Management Control
Independent working means that you often have much more power over your schedule. Work tasks can be put in the most efficient order, and fitted around non-work commitments, such as collecting the children from school, working out at the gym, or buying essentials from the store. If you are in the mood, or need to get something done urgently, you can work long hours. If you are sorely in need a break, you can work less. You are not so beholden to the needs or whims of others.
4. More Relaxed Environment
Working independently often means that you can undertake your tasks in a less formal and restrictive atmosphere, especially if you work from home. There is often more opportunity to wear cozier clothing, play your favorite music or podcast in the background, as well as sit in comfy furniture. A more relaxed environment can improve your productivity as well as sense of wellbeing.
5. Nobody Watching Over You
Individual working means that there is no manager nearby keeping tabs on your every move. You don't have to feel self-conscious if you need to make a personal phone call, or take a break. There are also no coworkers to snoop on you or gossip about you behind your back. Solo working removes potential sources of stress from others and makes for a more relaxed and productive atmosphere.
6. No Reliance on Others
When you are working as part of a team, you are often dependent on others to give you vital pieces of information, complete their own work tasks, or supply you with certain equipment, so that you can do your own job effectively. It can be very frustrating when others let you down. Some people can seem chronically unwilling or unable to do their job effectively. The incompetence, or just plain annoying qualities of others are avoided when working independently.
7. No Management Responsibilities
Individual working means that you don't have to manage anybody else, it is just your own work performance that you have to be concerned with. There is no monitoring, goal setting, updating, motivating, directing, organizing, evaluating, or reprimanding of others. You also don't have to train or mentor anyone else. A lot of potential stress is avoided.
8. Sole Responsibility
While team responsibility can sometimes be preferable when things go badly and the blame is shared, it's frustrating when you do your job well and get the blame for a problem or mistake that was made by others. It is also annoying when others steal the praise for your achievements. Solo working means that you have sole responsibility and don't have to be concerned with the performance of others.
9. Reduced Conflicts
Human relationships are rarely straightforward or entirely positive, and teams can often be breeding grounds for tensions caused by rivalries, jealousy, gossiping, bullying, as well as personality clashes. The conflicts created can be stressful for workers to deal with, and result in much time and energy being expended on maintaining social relationships. Working solo means that you can focus on your work and not be concerned with potential social discord.
10. Innovation Boost
It is common for creative people to choose to work alone when they are coming up with new ideas, principally because it is often easier to innovate without the influence of others. Groups have a tendency to take strong, unique, and quirky concepts and water them down. Peer pressure and self-censorship can cause people to only propose or come up with ideas that are conventional or derivative.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Paul Goodman