Loneliness that comes from working remote.
A study on The State Of Remote Work found that one of the biggest challenge remote workers face is loneliness. One of the biggest attractions of working remotely is the ability to ditch the drama and annoying co-workers. This may seem great, but as the study reveals this solitude quickly becomes a major challenge. Loneliness can cause many problems and decreased productivity. Here is what you need to know about the loneliness that comes with working from home and 20 tips on how to avoid this big challenge.
How loneliness affects your health.
Loneliness is more than just a feeling of isolation. Loneliness can have a range of affects on your mental and physical health. Working from home often makes it easier to take care of your health by allowing more time for exercising and making it easier to eat a balanced diet. Most remote workers have a higher satisfaction and are happier with their work situation as opposed to their piers working regular commute jobs. So if loneliness is one of the biggest challenge remote workers face, what exactly are the health implementation?
Loneliness can affect your mental and physical health in the following ways:
2. Increased stress
3. Drug abuse or Alcoholism
4. Decreased memory
5. Cardiovascular disease and stroke
Many of these mental and physical health problems that can be caused by loneliness go hand-in-hand. For example: depression can lead to drug abuse and lack of exercise, which can also lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke. It can be a slippery slope. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek the help of a professional. This is also all the more reason to work to prevent loneliness.
How to prevent loneliness while working from home and with remote working teams.
When asked what was the biggest challenge people faced when working remotely; 44 percent of people said that they struggled with communication in one way or another. Communication problems typically are the biggest causes of loneliness with remote workers.
To prevent loneliness while working from home and with remote working teams; try these tips:
1. Schedule meetings that include everyone.
Most remote teams are spread-out across the world and different time-zones. This can lead to a lack of communication and the inability for certain team members to connect. Since remote work often offers flexible schedules, the solution is easy. Schedule meetings that include the entire team at least a couple times a month. Allow for company talk and social talk. Let the remote team get to know each other. For larger teams, you can rotate small group meetings to ensure everybody has time together. It is very important to make sure everyone feels part of the team.
2. Invest in company trips.
Nothing builds bonds and friendships like face-to-face time. If you own the company, then invest in company trips that allow for your team to really build bonds. These bonds will follow your employees home and make for easier remote communication. If you are a remote employee, try to visit other remote team members or set a mutual meeting spot for those who can attend. Perhaps the company will help pay for this trip. These trips don’t have to be all about business… they should be about team bonding!
3. Create virtual activities or a social board.
Remote team communication can become all about work and neglect the fun. A great way to cure loneliness that comes from working from home is to create games, activities, and social boards for fun. Even a social Zoho channel for meme sharing can be great. Just keep it appropriate.
4. Work in different locations outside of your home.
I much prefer the term ‘remote job’ over ‘work from home.’ The greatest part about having a telecommute job, remote job, or whatever you want to call it is the freedom. Most of these jobs will allow you to literally work from anywhere in the world! Granted, you have an internet connection. Sitting alone in your home office can be incredibly lonely and make one less productive. Switch up you working location by working outside, at your favorite cafe, in a co-working space, or any other place that allows for focus and socialization. Try to do this at least once a week. It can also give you something to look forward to!
5. Use your flexible schedule to socialize.
Many remote jobs offer flexible scheduling, which is another great reason to find a remote job. Use this flexible schedule to get out and socialize in your community. You can join clubs, volunteer, take classes, or simply spend time with friends. Having something to look forward to and spending time with people in person will help prevent loneliness.
6. Co-work on projects together.
One theme that we see with remote teams is that they are often not teams at all. People tend to grab projects and work in solitude. This can slow project completion time and hinder the quality. If you are an employer it is important to let your employees co-work on projects together.
7. Use the right communication tools.
Communication is the key to a successful remote team. Using the wrong tools or being unorganized can cause people to be secluded and have many other bad affects on your business. It is important to make sure that you are using the right tools for communication.
8. Allow for social talk before or after meetings.
Virtual meetings are often straight to the point and have no time for social talk. This may seem great to a boss/manager, but it is actually counterproductive. Not allowing for social talk during meetings is the easiest way to keep your apart and promote loneliness. Schedule some extra time and let your team socialize during virtual meetings.
9. Join a co-working space at least a couple times a month.
Co-working spaces can be a great way to get out of the house and still be productive. One benefit that you can gain from spending a few days a month in a co-working space is meeting other remote workers. Even though you do not work for the same company, you still all have the common goal of being productive. Try to spend some time in a co-working space and see if your employer will flip the bill!
10. Join online groups that are related to your position.
Online groups are a great way to connect with others in your industry or that share similar interests. Online groups can create a network that allows you to learn from each other and support each other. Try finding groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social networks related to your career.
When remote workers were asked what they struggled with the most the two top answers were: 22% Unplugging after work and 19% Loneliness. Make sure that you limit your work time and also limit your internet use. It is easy to get wrapped up in work or sucked into social media. When you are spending the majority of your working hours online, it is important to unplug during your free time. Turn your phone off and go for a walk!
12. Join a sport, club, or gym.
Science has proven that being active has many health benefits both mental and physical. Joining a sport, club, or simply going to the gym is a great way to get active and also surround yourself around other people. This is a great and healthy way to combat loneliness when working from home.