For many, remote work is an ideal scenario. The ability to work from home, the coffee shop down the street, or a beach in Mexico is incredibly enticing. So enticing that 70% of the world’s workforce works remotely at least once a week.
While many glamorize the remote lifestyle on Instagram and Pinterest, there are drawbacks to working outside of the traditional office setting. Namely: loneliness.
Remote work can lead to feelings of isolation. If you’ve recently started working remotely — whether it’s because of the global COVID-19 pandemic or some other reason — you may be looking for information on how to avoid loneliness. The following eight tips will help.
8 Remote Work Tips to Avoid Loneliness
Remote work has exploded in popularity. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few downsides to this working arrangement. The eight tips below will help you feel more connected to your company and colleagues while you work from home.
1. Know You’re Not Alone
It’s important to realize that you’re not the only one who feels lonely when working from home. 20% of remote workers struggle with loneliness, which translates to nearly a million people in the United States alone.
While we understand you’d never wish your loneliness on someone else, it can be comforting to realize that others have and continue to go through the same thing you’re going through right now. Your feelings in this regard aren’t unique.
Fortunately, the cure for them isn’t either.
Many folks who struggled with remote work arrangements in the past have learned to avoid loneliness by implementing a few of (if not all) the strategies listed throughout this article.
2. Understand Yourself
To avoid loneliness and improve your current remote work lifestyle, you need to understand yourself. How do you tick?
Some people crave constant interaction with other folks. If they don’t get it daily, they begin to feel isolated and depressed. Others enjoy solitude and only require a minimum amount of human contact to remain happy.
Neither mentality is right or wrong; they’re just different. The key is to understand which way you lean so that you can build a remote work lifestyle that works for you.
If you’re not sure how much social interaction you require, consider taking a free personality test like the popular one offered by 16personalities. Once you’ve answered all the questions, you’ll learn your personality type and be able to use that information to help determine the perfect remote work arrangement for yourself.
3. Vary Your Workday
Have you taken the time to learn about yourself? Once you have, you’ll be much better prepared to build a satisfying remote work lifestyle and avoid loneliness. For example, you’ll be able to determine how much variation to add to your workday.
Some people work best when they do the same things every day. They wake up at 6 a.m. and go for a jog, then they shower, and eat breakfast before sitting down in their home office to work. Noon exactly is lunch time… You get the idea.
For others, that level of structure is stifling. They need more freedom in their days to work at peak levels. These folks tend to wake up when they want and work when it suits them. As long as they get their projects done on time, this approach is perfectly valid.
There’s not a perfect amount of variance that works for everyone. It completely depends on you and what makes you feel energized throughout your workday.
Just know that varying your day may help you avoid loneliness. A new working environment, project, or business partner (when applicable) can help break up the monotony of daily life and help you better connect to the world around you.
4. Join an Online Community
One of the absolute best ways to avoid loneliness while working remotely is to join an online community of some sort. There are millions of them out there. Just look to Facebook Groups, Slack Chats, community forums, or popular blogs… Each of them brings people together.
These online communities can be work-related or geared towards your interests.
Work-related online communities are great because they allow people to meet others in similar situations to them. These folks can talk about the challenges and struggles they face in their jobs due to remote work. They can also share tactics to help each other further their careers.
But online communities dedicated to personal interests are important too. These groups will still give you the human interaction you need to avoid loneliness. They’ll also allow you to take your mind off of work from time to time, which is crucial when trying to beat burnout.
Try joining both work-related online communities and ones dedicated to your personal interests. You can always leave if the groups aren’t helpful or engaging.
Lastly, if you work for a company rather than for yourself, consider starting a group for you and your co-workers. Many organizations have team-dedicated Slack channels that allow staffers to interact with each other (on both work and personal related topics) from anywhere in the world.
5. Get Out of the House
Maybe you feel lonely because you’ve been cooped up in your home office for a few weeks straight. This is completely understandable. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix: get out of the house! Go to a coffee shop or book a desk at a coworking station.
This strategy will allow you to be where other humans are. You’ll even have the chance to interact with them if you choose so.
To get the most out of this tip, be willing to get out of your comfort zone. While sitting in a crowded coffee shop will give you general contact with many different people, you’ll see the most benefit from actually talking to them. So, introduce yourself and start up a conversation.
Note: COVID-19 is a major concern in most areas around the world right now. Because of this, we can’t recommend working at a coffee shop or co-working space at this time. Still, it may benefit you to go for a drive in the middle of the day or walk through a park while maintaining social distancing rules. The sight of other humans — even if you don’t directly interact with them — will help you avoid loneliness.
6. Invest in Personal Relationships
While we might feel lonely when we aren’t surrounded by an office full of colleagues, very few of us are alone. Most of us have friends and family members that we can talk to and hang out with. It’s important to invest in these personal relationships while working remotely. Doing so will help you avoid loneliness.
In general, those that work remotely work more hours than their office counterparts. While this is great for company productivity, it can harm team member morale — especially if they feel that all they do is work by themselves all day long.
To avoid this, give yourself office hours. Know what time you’re going to stop working every day, put the computer away, and go spend time with your loved ones.
7. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Technology enables remote work. Without the internet and various communication tools, none of us would be able to work from home as we do now. With that in mind, here are a few top solutions that will help connect you to your colleagues:
In all likelihood, you’ve heard of Slack. You’ve probably even used the popular app yourself. If not, now may be a perfect time. Slack is a communication tool that allows people to connect via text, audio, and video chat features. Conversations can be organized in a variety of different ways such as by team, client, or project. Users can drop out of or rejoin chats at any time — something they can’t do with email. Lastly, Slack has a handy search feature that allows its users to quickly find information from past conversations. If you’re feeling disconnected from your team, get started with Slack and begin conversing regularly.
Asana is a top project management tool that’s used by major corporations like Comcast, Vox Media, and Salesforce. One of the things that makes Asana so useful is that it allows users to visualize their work in a variety of ways. They can view projects on a Kanban board, task list, timeline format, or standard calendar. Inside each project, users can assign project owners and due dates and chat with each other about project details. The app is a great way to keep teams connected and working towards their goals — even if each team member happens to be located in a different city.
Email, for all its benefits, wasn’t built to send large files. As visual content like photographs and videos become essential marketing pieces, the need to transfer them between remote team members grows increasingly important. Digital asset management (DAM) solution like CleanPix gives distributed teams the ability to easily store, organize, locate, and send important brand assets. Send files between remote team members with ease with CleanPix.
Lastly, we have ClickMeeting, a webinar and video conferencing software that keeps teams connected, both to each other and to their company’s customers. It includes automated and on-demand webinar capabilities; screen sharing, polls and surveys, or CTA features; and a detailed analytics dashboard. That’s why the tool is used by more than 100,000 people in 161 countries around the world. Whether you need a way to teach your students online now that you’re working remotely, host team meetings with your distributed team, or simply want to record sales presentations to send to top prospects, you can do it with ClickMeeting. Start your free trial today and experience the power of ClickMeeting for yourself.
The technology solutions listed above will help you stay connected to your company and your customers while you work remotely. Using them will also help you avoid loneliness as you’ll be able to regularly interact with others in meaningful ways.
8. Prioritize Social Activity
At the end of the day, the only way to truly avoid loneliness and create an enjoyable remote working experience for yourself is to prioritize social activity. If you don’t take any action to interact with others, you probably won’t.
So, do yourself a favor and implement the eight tips above. Learn about yourself, experiment with different work schedules, join online communities, and invest in technology. If you do, you’ll be able to experience all of the benefits of remote work without feeling cut off from your colleagues.
While it’s true that some people need a constant, in-person human to human interaction, most of us will excel in remote work situations and completely avoid loneliness if we follow the eight tips listed in this article:
- Know You’re Not Alone;
- Understand Yourself;
- Vary Your Workday;
- Join an Online Community;
- Get Out of the House;
- Invest in Personal Relationships;
- Use Technology to Your Advantage;
- Prioritize Social Activity.
Whether you’re working remotely because you’ve always dreamed of having the digital nomad lifestyle, or you’ve been forced into it because of current events, do your best to implement these tips. We’re confident you’ll see your loneliness levels decrease when you do.