How to Combat Remote Work Loneliness
For those who prefer remote work—and according to a recent Gallup study, that’s now over 90% of employees—the drawbacks to working from home are few and far between. But two concerns that some virtual employees express is that they may sometimes feel lonely in a solo work environment, or may feel disconnected from their colleagues and the company.
While these challenges do have the potential to derail your morale and/or motivation as a home-based worker, that’s not a foregone conclusion. By putting some proactive strategies in place, you can be prepared to overcome these potential pitfalls and feel connected and engaged no matter where you work. Read on to learn how remote workers can successfully combat loneliness and disconnection.
Make the Most of Virtual Touchpoints
Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, in-person meetings were generally considered the go-to way to meaningfully connect with colleagues. Far fewer people worked remotely, so the systems to connect people who weren’t office-based were not well developed or nonexistent. But today, being out of the office need not mean feeling out of the loop. Most companies with a hefty contingent of remote workers now offer a multitude of ways for coworkers to connect using online tools and apps, which can help workers overcome both loneliness and disconnection.
While these platforms don’t mirror talking to someone in person, many create experiences that are a very close second—and even offer some advantages over face-to-face gatherings by eliminating the hassle factor around them while ensuring health and safety. So, take the time to explore what types of opportunities your company offers for remote workers to connect with their teams, and take advantage of them.
Overcome Resistance to Videoconferences
On a related note, making the most of the tech tools available to you means embracing the ones that are designed for virtual connection. While much has been written about so-called “Zoom fatigue,” meant to describe remote worker frustration with video meetings, a recent study from the Pew Research Foundation found that most American adults working from home (65%) feel that videoconferencing apps are “a good substitute for in-person contact.”
If you’re someone who has avoided video calls in the past, reconsider them now, in light of the value they can bring by bridging the gap between colleagues in different locations. Talking to your team via Zoom is still a social connection, and it can help provide you with the camaraderie you may feel that you’ve been missing.
Enrich Connections in Your Home-Based World
Remote workers potentially have twice the opportunity to feel a part of things and connected, rather than lonely and left out, if they take advantage of opportunities to feel supported from their home location, as well as their virtual office experience. If you live and work alone from home, your challenge is to expand your options for feeling tuned in despite what may seem an inherently solitary work experience.
If you work at home with family or housemates but feel siloed while doing it, you similarly should challenge yourself to leverage what (and who) you have around you for social connections. For example, solo workers might join online support groups or clubs if your company offers them (or through other sources). People who work at home with family could schedule quality time to put down their work and do something meaningful with their spouse or child rather than staying glued to the screen all day.
Connect, Engage, Succeed
As you practice the strategies above, always remember to practice self-care, such as exercising during the day and eating nutritious meals rather than skipping lunches, to boost your mental health. When you feel better, you’ll feel more inspired to overcome inertia and do what it takes to create the connections you need and overcome occasional feelings of loneliness.
For more tips on being a successful remote worker, check out our articles on working remotely.
By Robin Madell | Categories: Work Remotely