Over the year remote working has grown steadily in popularity with it being heralded as a solution to some of the problems faced pre-pandemic. Across all sectors, companies ae embracing flexible working arrangements, and it is clear now more than ever that the digital lifestyle is definitely here to stay.
Recent analysis from the Office for National Statistics revealed that remote working in the UK has more than doubled to 9.9m people. For some, remote working provides the opportunity to spend more time with family, pursue hobbies that previously would have been unfulfilled, cooking healthy homecooked food, and being able to make the school run.
However, loneliness and isolation has become a major concern amongst remote workers. The physical separation of co-workers has led to more people feeling like they don’t have friends at work. Microsoft’s latest New Future of Work Report 2022, researchers found that whilst remote working can improve job satisfaction it can also lead to employees feeling “socially isolated, guilty and trying to compensate.”
Thankfully, there are numerous strategies to overcome loneliness and isolation whilst working remotely.
Regular catch-ups are a great way to stay connected with your team. These check-ins can happen over video, online, or even in person.
By connecting with your team, it provides you with the opportunity to address any concerns or issues that you may be facing, in addition to building trust, rapport, and fostering collaboration amongst team members.
Whist it may feel odd, virtual lunch or coffee date can be a great way to catch up with co-workers you haven’t seen outside the office.
Additionally, you could use social networking sites to find and reach out to others in the same position as you.
Make use of video conferencing tools, phone calls, WhatsApp/text messages to keep in contact with your team members. Make sure to take advantage of Zoom meetings and discussions with your co-workers to shake off the feeling of loneliness.
Taking breaks while working remotely may seem challenging, especially when you don’t have defined hours or a nearby break area.
Make sure to schedule breaks into your calendar. GO OUTSIDE! Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. Use the small breaks to interact with other people or do something not work-related.
Company meetup, parties, dinners or even team building activities are great for networking, connecting with co-workers, and even a chance to have fun and relax. Make it a habit to attend them.
Spend at least one day per week working outside your home. It could be a coffee shop, a co-working space, or even at a friend’s home whose also working remotely.
Being surrounded by others will help you feel less lonely throughout the day.