Remote work has existed for many decades, and scientific research has historically highlighted the merits of remote working.
There is no need to commute and spend your precious time in traffic, which is a welcome change for most people. With the abundance of remote tools, people can stay connected and collaborate with ease. It’s also great for your health and wellness because you get extra time for a quick run or yoga.
While we do enjoy the perks of working from home, it also has few drawbacks that affect your mental state and productivity. One of the most spoken about problems of remote working is isolation and loneliness.
Buffer conducted a survey with over 3500 remote workers around the world. In this survey, it was found that communication, collaboration, and loneliness were the top challenges for remote workers and remote organizations. The study also highlights that loneliness is consistently selected as a top struggle for remote workers.
Isolation and loneliness lead to poor productivity and also affects one’s physical and mental health. Remote employers and leaders face the challenge of improving team collaboration, build relationships, and deploy work while making everybody feel included.
If you are an employee who is feeling isolated working from home, these tips are for you –
BUILD A HEALTHY ROUTINE
Practicing good self-care and having a healthy routine is an important part of working remotely. Encourage a routine that helps you get work done, both professionally and personally. Have a good home office set up to ensure you get plenty of sunlight and fresh air!
Take sufficient breaks to avoid burnout. Building a healthy routine with these simple steps will help you avoid feeling lonely and isolated while working remotely.
While working from home, using email or chat to communicate is common practice. To avoid being viewed as cold or indifferent, send clear and positive messages to your team.
Happy emojis, compliments, virtual celebrations, and appreciations are simple but very effective ways of building rapport and maintaining morale.
EXPLORE CO-WORKING SPACES
Working from home is the new reality for many people. Apart from understanding the tools and processes of remote working, we are also confronting new issues such as feeling disconnected from the office and colleagues, lack of motivation, and drive.
Working in co-working spaces may help overcome this and, also boost your productivity. Co-working spaces such as We Work and Grind allow freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals to come together and work in a shared, communal setting.
These spaces are usually available 24/7 and give you the flexibility to work anytime. Some even have collaborative spaces with shared tables where you can interact with fellow remote workers.
GET A HOBBY
It’s very easy to obsess over your job while working remotely, especially if you are a workaholic. Don’t let work burn you out. Getting a hobby helps you rejuvenate your mind and body – something that everyone needs once in a while!
Want some inspiration? Here are some interesting low-cost hobby ideas!
When you work remotely, you don’t have team lunches, daily meetings, or water cooler chats to socialize, but there certainly are some amazing tools you can use to tackle isolation and feel connected with your teammates.
Instant messenger platforms such as Slack allow you to create channels to connect with teammates to socialize – to talk about general news, hobbies, exchange recipes, posting inspirational quotes, etc.
If you are run a remote team, you can host a virtual party on Fridays or even get your team members to watch a movie together on Netflix Party!
You could also hold light-hearted remote competitions, which are great for making new connections within the organization. Find common interests among team members and design competitions around those. Some fun and useful tools you can use are Polly, Water Cooler Trivia, and Donut.
TURN ON THE VIDEO
Working from home can sometimes mean not interacting with anyone for days. This can have a detrimental effect on your mental health, leaving you feeling alone and isolated. To overcome this, try to maximize human touch when interacting with teammates.
If you have a choice, opt for video calls than chatting. This will help you and your co-worker to bridge the gap instantly and make you feel connected!
OFFER YOUR EMPLOYEES WORKSPACE ALLOWANCE
If you are a remote employer and want to retain top employees, you can come up with an attractive package of perks and benefits. Health, tech, learning and development and reward programs are common aspects of an employee package. Adding a workspace allowance to this will boost employee morale and productivity. It will also reiterate the fact that you care for your employees’ mental and physical health.
Encourage your employees to buy ergonomic chairs and standing desks. You could also pay for co-working spaces for your employees, where they’d get a chance to step out and socialize with a few fellow remote workers!
If you are new to remote work, then you may be interested in our post on how to create work-life balance while working from home.