By Amanda Augustine, careers expert for TopCV
Whether you’re a full-time remote employee or your company has recently adopted a post-COVID hybrid working arrangement, it’s not uncommon to find yourself feeling disconnected or lonely when you’re spending the majority of your time alone with your monitors.
In fact, studies found that loneliness is the biggest challenge facing remote employees today. These feelings of isolation, when left unchecked, can negatively impact your physical and mental health and productivity. Follow these tips below to tackle the loneliness and stress that comes with working from home on a regular basis.
1. Schedule virtual coffee dates.
If you used to go out for an afternoon coffee with a friend from the office before the pandemic began, it’s time to bring back this ritual … with a virtual twist. Schedule your lunch or coffee date and meet up via a video call to catch up. There’s no substitute for spending face-to-face time with others, but these informal virtual get-togethers can make work feel a little less isolating.
2. Get outside.
Take advantage of the improving weather to incorporate a bit of fresh air into your working day. Go for a walk in a local park, ring up a friend whilst you stroll around your neighbourhood, or schedule a lunch with a friend or family member at a restaurant with outdoor seating. If you have a conference call or your day is meeting light, you might be able to take your work outside when the weather is nice.
3. Mix up your working location.
A great way to fight those feelings of isolation is to work one day each week outside your home. It could be a coffee shop, your local library, a co-working space, or even the home of a friend who’s also working remotely. Even if you won’t be directly working with these individuals, just having others around will help you feel less lonely and more engaged throughout the day.
4. Reconnect with your colleagues.
If you’d grown tired of the Friday Zoom Happy Hours or Thursday Trivia Nights at the height of the pandemic, it might be time to give it another go. Socialising with your coworkers is a great way to feel more connected. Look for groups at work to join—or form—to increase your social interactions. For example, does your organisation have a social committee or a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative you could join? Could you gather a group of colleagues to play Dungeons and Dragons online or create a monthly online game party that anyone can join?
5. Make plans after work.
If you don’t get to spend a lot of time working or socialising with your coworkers these days, thanks to your work arrangement, put effort into making plans with your friends or family throughout the week—especially on those days when you’re feeling particularly lonely. Whether it’s dinner or drinks out with friends, a movie night in, or a music concert, find opportunities to get together with your inner circle and feel more connected to your community. As an added bonus: by planning activities on your diary, you’re more likely to actually stop working at a reasonable time and get off of the computer.
It might not happen overnight, but making some of these little changes to your working week can make a big difference to your wellbeing over time.