Tackling Loneliness When Working From Home
18 February, 2022
Adapting To Change
Many of us have now adjusted to working from home, but we’re also seeing an increase in loneliness, anxiety, and general low mood as we lose the element of community and interaction found in the office environment. UK job board, Totaljobs, has found that almost half of UK workers have struggled with loneliness and depression while working from home - with women and younger workers between 18 and 38 at most risk.
The increase in isolated working, lack of socialisation and face-to-face discussion, navigating work pressures alone and juggling work and home stresses in one setting are all impacting on our sense of mental wellness. Finding a solution to tackle these struggles and improve our wellbeing is essential if we continue to work from a home. Fortunately, even if you look set to work remotely, there are some practices you can introduce into your working day that can ease the loneliness of working from home. Let’s take a look.
Connect With Colleagues
Even when working separately, we know there are plenty of avenues to stay in touch with our colleagues. When it comes to work discussions, why not take them onto Zoom or Teams to talk it out? While emails can be quicker and more comprehensive, taking the interval out of your day to meet face to face - or screen to screen - can make us feel more connected with our colleagues and less lonely overall.
Outside of work projects, it might also be helpful to reach out more socially, if it feels appropriate. Everyone will have faced some kind of struggle in the move from office working to working from home and taking the step to reach out to one another and share these worries may be a great help for both of you. Whether there’s capacity for some kind of video social or WhatsApp group, or capacity to meet in person for a coffee with colleagues nearby, see what small actions you can take to connect closer with those you would have a chat within the office.
Diversify Your Week With Coworking Spaces
Staring at the same walls all day, every day is sure to take a toll on our mental wellbeing. Making an effort to take time out of the home office space and move into public spaces like coffee shops, or coworking office spaces, can be a great aid to coping with remote working loneliness.
Aim to make two days out of the weekdays where you work from alternative, more social spaces. Even the background company of customers in a coffee shop environment can lift us out of the feeling of isolation, and help us feel more connected and more positive in ourselves. Coworking spaces can also offer the opportunity to connect with like minded professionals and share ideas about new projects or gain fresh inspiration - you never know where your next big success will come from!
Nurture Your Social Diary
It can be all too easy to feel exhausted at the end of the workday, with only enough energy left to collapse in front of the tv and fall asleep early on the sofa. We all need some rest and comfort to help us restore, but getting stuck in this routine long term can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation. Making time to tend your social life is an important step towards caring for your mental health and stepping out of loneliness.
Even if this week feels overwhelming, you can always pop a coffee date or dinner with friends in for a few weeks time. Having something to look forward to can help energise you and remind you that you’re not alone. Listening to your body and knowing truly when to rest is an important skill in self-care, but sometimes the gentle push to change your scenery and spend real lifetime with friends, free from work, can make your working from home hours a little less lonely the day after.
Create A Friendly Workspace
Whilst we all want to keep focused in our workspace, all work and no play can really bring us now. Bringing in some gentle reminders of your friends and family can be a great lift out of loneliness - photos, small gifts from loved ones, or postcards from trips shared with friends, can all bring a smile to our faces and remind us of those we can turn to throughout the working day.
If you’re someone who works better with some level of background noise, you could consider listening to some nostalgic music or podcasts to keep you company. Silence can make working loneliness feel even greater, but the sound of comforting music or radio conversations can make all the difference.
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