A survey of 2000 remote workers in the UK and the US found that a large proportion felt disproportionately isolated from others and that working from home was negatively impacting their ability to build relationships and maintain social connections both inside and outside of work.
67% of workers aged 18-34 reported that working remotely has made it more difficult to make friends and maintain relationships with coworkers. 71% felt that their coworkers had grown distant, with 54% blaming remote working as the primary cause. It was also discovered that the social aspect of work was more important to younger workers, who are more sociable in general.
When asked about how they would feel about working remotely on a permanent basis, 81% of younger workers expressed genuine concerns about loneliness. This is because younger generations are more inclined to go out and socialize than older generations (who tend to have more family-oriented responsibilities), which perhaps explains why the social element to work is less of a contending factor when it comes to job appeal in workers aged over 35.
The importance of staying connected
Connecting with peers is important for remote workers for a variety of reasons, particularly for their mental health and well-being. Social interaction is a fundamental human need. Feelings of loneliness and depression can result from social isolation. Remote workers, who are frequently physically separated from their coworkers, are especially vulnerable. They can maintain social relationships and avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation by staying connected with their peers.
Having a network of colleagues to rely on can make you feel less stressed and more motivated. You can get advice, support, and encouragement, to feel more confident and prepared to face the challenges of remote work.
Connecting with peers can assist remote workers in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. When you feel isolated, you may feel tempted to work longer hours or even neglect your personal life, both of which are detrimental to your mental health. By staying connected with peers, you can keep work and personal life separate, which can help you avoid burnout and maintain a healthier work-life balance.
Here are some things you can do to avoid feeling isolated and lonely while working remotely:
1. Build virtual relationships
Building relationships with colleagues can be challenging for some, however, these relationships are very important for your mental health and overall well-being. Here are some ways you can build relationships with your colleagues virtually:
A. Virtual coffee breaks
Taking regular virtual coffee breaks with colleagues can help you maintain rapport with them and catch up on a personal level. This can be done through video conferencing tools or instant messaging.
B. Team building activities
Participating in virtual team-building activities, such as online games, quizzes, or trivia, can help you build relationships with your colleagues and foster a sense of unity and teamwork. If no one is holding it, be the initiator!
C. Personal updates
Sharing personal updates and experiences, such as your recent trip or a new hobby, can help you build relationships with your colleagues and foster a sense of affinity.
2. Creating a routine
Creating a routine can be an effective way for you to overcome feelings of loneliness and feel more connected to your peers. You can schedule regular virtual meetings or events to build a sense of community and consistency in your everyday life.
Scheduling regular video calls with your coworkers can help maintain the human connection often lost in remote work and provide opportunities for informal conversations and building meaningful relationships.
Attending virtual events together, such as virtual coffee breaks or happy hours, can also provide a social and fun outlet for remote workers.
Routines like these can help you feel much more connected to your colleagues, boost your morale and motivation, and foster a sense of community in their remote work environment.
3. Take control of your work-life balance
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is critical for remote workers, especially when it comes to staying connected with their colleagues. Here are some tips on how you can strike a balance between work and personal life while staying connected with your colleagues:
A. Set boundaries
It is important to set clear boundaries between your work time and personal life, such as setting working hours and creating designated workspaces. This will help prevent cases where work takes up personal time and ensure that you are using the time set aside for yourself.
B. Take breaks
Taking regular breaks throughout the day is essential to recharge, refocus and maintain productivity. This can include taking short walks, doing yoga, or simply stepping away from screens for a few minutes.
C. Schedule time for self-care
Self-care should be a top priority since it is very important to maintain your physical and mental health. This can include activities such as sports, health, or hobbies that bring joy and relaxation.
4. Building a support network
Building a support network outside of work can help you feel less alone and more connected to your community. Here are some ideas on how to build it:
Hobbies and interests can provide personal goals and fulfillment, as well as opportunities to meet like-minded individuals.
B. Volunteer work
Volunteering for local organizations or communities such as NGOs allows you to give back to your community. Outside of work, it can also be a great way to meet new people and build relationships.
C. Online communities
You can use online communities to connect with others who share their interests and experiences. This can be a useful resource for those of you who want to build a support network and overcome loneliness.
Outside of work, having a strong support network can be very beneficial. By creating a support network, you can overcome loneliness and have a more positive and fulfilling career experience. Midstay has a community of more than 1000 remote workers from all around the world who are ready to become your support network.
5. Seeking help when needed
Working remotely can present its own set of difficulties, such as feeling isolated or disconnected from others, which can have a negative impact on one’s mental health and well-being. Seeking assistance, such as through counseling or therapy, can provide support and guidance in coping with feelings of loneliness and improving overall mental health.
Counseling or therapy can provide a safe space for you to discuss your thoughts and feelings, as well as work through any difficulties you may be experiencing. A mental health professional can assist you in identifying and addressing any underlying issues, developing coping strategies, and providing tools and techniques for managing your mental health.
For remote workers, feelings of loneliness and isolation can be a real challenge and can negatively impact mental health and overall well-being. However, by following the tips outlined in this article, you should be able to overcome those feelings and succeed in a remote environment.
From scheduling regular virtual catch-ups to building a support network outside of work, you have the tools and resources needed to stay connected with your colleagues and maintain a positive and fulfilling remote work experience.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out by your loneliness, seek professional help through counseling or therapy. By taking care of yourself and your mental health, you can be more productive, fulfilled, and happy in your remote work environment.
We invite all remote workers to join Midstay, a social and relocation platform specially designed for the remote working community. Prepare for work-from-abroad trips and networking, you can connect with other like-minded remote workers, build meaningful relationships, and overcome loneliness. Whether you are experienced or just starting out on a remote journey, Midstay is a great place to find a supportive community and make meaningful connections.
Join Midstay today and start building your remote working community!