Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, most office spaces are closed and have been for a while. People have to do their work from home, which presents a whole new set of problems in itself. Productivity issues are a given, but one of the more subtle and insidious problems remote workers face is loneliness.
Working alone in your house, day in and day out, can be extremely frustrating. In an office environment, where there is constant chatter and conversation to listen to. That is why, in this article, we will take a look at some of the methods which can be employed by freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs to beat back loneliness.
Organize Group Calls With Other Employees
Sure, when you work online, you get to chat with others and see each other in meetings, but what about conversations by the water filter? Gossipping about the latest developments in the media? Passionate discussions about music on the commute? There is no room for that. There is only the screen, the wall, and the many distractions that come with the environment.
Unless you change it, of course, and you should. Connect with your coworkers and talk to them as you would normally. Stay on a call with people while working so that you can discuss things normally and help each other stay focused and ready. Get on a group call and have the discussions you would have during lunch break. It’s a good way to stay connected.
Try Working Somewhere Outside Your Home
This might seem counter-productive, but it is worth a shot. Many professionals’ main problem when working from home is the oppressive feeling of being trapped within four walls. Your home is supposed to be just that – your home. It is somewhere you come back to from work. Turning it into your working environment can have some very unfortunate consequences.
So, take your work outside. Find a nice little coffee shop where you can occupy a corner and get your work done. With the background chatter of the many patrons coming and going, and the welcoming and open atmosphere, many of these places have, you are bound to feel a little bit like you’re back in the office. At least, the walls won’t press in on you as much.
Optimize Your Flexible Working Hours
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. The saying exists for a reason, and it is brimming with truth. Working from home often results in people overworking themselves far beyond the hours they usually would. If you’re doing this, then you need to take a step back and prioritize self-care. You’re working from home. Space out the work according to what you need to do.
For example, go out in the morning for breakfast with friends. Catch a movie in the afternoon. Spend the evening with friends and family. Stop isolating yourself and surround yourself with people you love. This will keep you energized and focused. Don’t worry about work – you can plan around these essential activities. It’s one of the best perks you have.
Meet New People
If you moved to a new city before lockdowns hit, you might be in a fix. You can’t meet your coworkers, and you can’t go out to meet new people, either. But just because mass social gatherings are currently out of favor doesn’t mean you have to stew in your loneliness. There are tons of apps that help you connect with people to talk to in your area.
Tanya Rak, Taimi PR Manager, has spoken widely about the problems people face from all stripes and colors to find a meaningful connection in this day and age. LGBTQ+ people are especially at a disadvantage. But with the sheer number of dating and social media apps available geared towards meeting new people, it really shouldn’t be too hard to find someone you hit it off with.
Improve Your Communication
Even if you get limited time to talk to coworkers, make the most of it. Find a way to be friendly and open, bring up your interests, and prepare icebreakers for the meetings. Your active communication will loosen everyone else up and bring you closer. You will inspire others to do the same, and before long, you will be chatting away like old school friends.
You need to make friends get through the situation. If you can make your work hours more enjoyable, it won’t feel like a chore. Creating a better relationship with your coworkers is very rewarding and makes you feel like you belong. The company feels like a collection of people instead of just you working away in your room. Avoid feeling this way and practice active communication.
Take Some Time Off For You
Amidst all the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be very easy to forget the most important person in your life – you. Yes, you. Without you, there would be nothing – nothing for your friends and family to be grateful for. You need to take care of yourself, too, so take some time out to do things that you enjoy, just for the sake of yourself.
Order in some food you really like. Read that book you’ve been waiting to start. Dance to some music. Play some video games. Organize your workspace. Get in the bathtub for a long, hot soak. There are many things you can, and should, do to relax. You’re not just another brick in the wall. You have needs. Find out what they are and meet them.
Loneliness is not a recent phenomenon. Since 2016, doctors have warned that the feeling may take hold in a huge percentage of adults, leading to an epidemic. It is ironic, then, that it took one epidemic to exacerbate another. As if the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t serious enough, remote working is so new in the public consciousness that no true guides exist for the masses to look at.
However, whatever else you might do, do not suffer in silence. Do not think that you are alone. There are thousands of people going through similar things, and if you just try, you will be able to make things so much better for yourself. You need to find what works for you and then do it. It is that simple. Be a little kinder to yourself this year. Don’t let loneliness win.