More of us are working from home than ever before. However, despite all the benefits of this new flexible way of working, there are a few downsides with the main one being loneliness with half of the remote workers reporting that they feel isolated working from home.
Unsurprisingly when people feel lonely, it can often spiral into poor mental health outcomes like depression or anxiety. And these symptoms can worsen when people feel separated from their co-workers and what can sometimes feel like the whole world. Jenine Butroid, a qualified counsellor, psychotherapist, and founder of Supporting Minds, gives her top tips to help you deal with loneliness while working from home.
Calling people on Zoom or Teams is great but getting to the office at least once a week can be a fantastic way to alleviate the feelings of isolation or loneliness. Scheduling this time to check into the office and see everyone will help you feel more connected to the team and play an essential role in your positive mental health. For example, if you have a favourite colleague, you love seeing, arrange a day when you are both in at the same time. This way, you will have time for an all-important face-to-face catch-up when lunch comes around.
If you do not get to spend much time working or socialising with your teammates because of remote working, make plans with friends or family members during the week when you are feeling lonelier than usual. A 9-5 job can be pretty draining at the best of times, so when the feelings of isolation kick in, make plans so you have something to look forward to. This could be catching up with your friends or family, taking the dog for a walk to unwind, or popping out for a bite to eat. Essentially, get out of the house. A change of scenery and having a chat will do you the world of good.
Does your business take part in any initiatives outside of work? For example, is there a team tasked with raising money for charity? Groups like this often plan fun fundraising activities and bring the team closer together. Getting involved will help you stay in contact with people and make friends within your team, reducing the feelings of loneliness or isolation.
When you need to brainstorm, discuss ideas, or present your point of view on a subject with one of your colleagues, hop onto a video or audio call to communicate. This is perfect when you want to explain a complicated concept or propose a differing viewpoint with your teammate, alleviating the misunderstandings that come through typing your responses. Also, if you find yourself with a few free minutes in the day, why not video call someone in your team using video conferencing tools? It may not feel as ‘normal’ as a face-to-face chat, but it is the next best thing.
Get outside for a break and get your body moving at least once a day. Enjoy a walk on your lunch break to clear your head. It will help you breathe in fresh energy to return to work.
Besides, while walking, you may also bump into people you can exchange a few words with, making you feel more connected. If you struggle to get outside, some indoor physical exercise can help you boost your endorphins, making you feel happier, healthier, and refreshed throughout the rest of your workday.