In the 2019 State of Remote Work report, loneliness was named the second most significant challenge for remote employees. Loneliness will impact your productivity, the connection with teammates, and your all-around wellbeing. There's no denying that we need to find ways to combat this loneliness in the long run.
The idea of remote work has been around for quite some time. But with the break out of COVID-19, it took a new spin. Now that many firms are new to this concept, there is a lot to learn for employers. The needs of their now -remote- workers have changed. Loneliness is an emotional response to a lack of connection, which is not always easy to fix. However, there are a few tips we've gathered from experienced remote workers. Hopefully, some of those will help you get the most out of this incredible privilege of working remotely. There are ways of avoiding loneliness when working remotely, so make sure to try out some of them before going back to your old ways.
1. Work in a cafe or shared space office.Most people feel less lonely when other people surround them. Interestingly, 84% of respondents told the 2019 State of Remote Work report, that, most of the time, they're working from home. A much smaller percentage of remote workers primarily work from coworking spaces (8%), coffee shops (4%), libraries (0.5%), and other places (3%.) So if you're feeling lonely working from home, give some alternative space the chance to be your perfect surrounding. It's nice to have someone to chat with, even if it's not a meaningful conversation. Simply smiling and saying hello to someone in a coffee shop can lead to wonderful conversations, or perhaps something more. But even if you do not end up chatting with anyone, it might make you feel so much better when surrounded by other people.
2. Find other remote workers in your area.Having the freedom to work from anywhere is great, but it also means you're going to have to go out of your way to find inspiring and productive work environments. Whether it's an existing shared office space or a group of people, you've met online. Finding other remote workers in your area can help you find a way of working that suits your needs. The chances are that some other remote workers are feeling as lonely as you are. They might even be happy to share an office with you.
3. Talk to a friend or family member every day.Especially if you live alone, this is something to keep in mind. Humans are social creatures, and most of us need to speak to someone at least once a day. If you don't talk to your coworkers via video meetings every day, make sure to call someone of your friends and family. If you are terrible at keeping in touch with friends and family, try to schedule a call in advance. You could also set yourself an alarm to remind you to reach out to someone important. There are different approaches to this, but trust me, it will help you feel more connected to others.
4. Talk to your coworkers via video chat.
Sometimes it's just beautiful to have someone to share opinions with, and doing it on Slack is not quite the same as in-person pair work. Nothing can replace an in-person meeting, but video calls are the closest solution. Video calls will also help to minimize miscommunication. After emailing or texting back and forth with a coworker, make sure to include a video call regularly. Not only will it help you feel better in terms of loneliness, but you will also sort out some aspects that written messages cannot transport.
Additionally, you could also start a chat dedicated to non-work-related topics to keep in touch with colleagues and stay update on general news. Excellent communication between workers benefits company culture and helps employees to feel more connected. Loneliness in remote workers is so common, that chances are your coworkers will also benefit from this thread!
5. Find your routine.
Most people work well on a routine. Whether you start every day by going on a walk or enjoy a slow morning at a coffee shop before you begin working for the day, find something that brings you joy. The best part about working remotely is that you have the freedom to make your routine and adjust it according to your needs. Not everyone can use their lunch break for a quick run as effortlessly as someone working from home (I guess you could, but I find that so much easier from home.)
The best part about working from home is that you start discovering how and where you work best. Knowing when your energy levels are at their peak is something you can only find out by working on a flexible schedule. Furthermore, knowing how to recharge your batteries effectively is also a game-changer. These are just some of the many benefits of working remotely, so make sure you make the best out of it.