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Widespread remote working is perhaps the biggest change to come out of the pandemic.
And while flexible working has proved extremely popular – with some people leaving roles due to a lack of flexibility – it’s not without its shortcomings.
Namely, there’s the threat to work-life balance, a lack of trust from bosses and even the potential for a pay cut compared to your office-working counterparts.
Some workers have even found that remote working has caused their sleep to suffer, while working too much is known to wreak havoc on your health.
Another shortfall of remote working is that it can lack the social aspect that comes from working in an office.
It’s much harder to meet new people when you eat your lunch with Netflix rather than a colleague, urso azul do tibet and making friends through a screen can prove extremely difficult.
It’s no surprise that some remote workers are feeling lonely – a 2021 survey found that more than a third of workers aged 18 to 34 had found it harder to make friends and maintain relationships with colleagues since working from home, with 81% expressing concerns around loneliness.
‘When left unchecked, feelings of isolation, when left unchecked, can wreak havoc on both your physical and mental health,’ says Amanda Augustine, a careers expert for TopCV.
‘Whether you work remotely all the time or as part of a hybrid working arrangement, it’s important that you find practical ways to address these feelings of loneliness and to seek help if they’re negatively impacting your mental health.’
How to beat loneliness when you work from home
Schedule virtual coffee dates
While it can feel a little 2020-esque, virtual lunch or coffee dates can actually be a great way to catch up with the coworkers you haven’t seen outside of the office.
Amanda recommends asking the colleagues you spend the least amount of time with to join you for a coffee on Zoom.
She says: ‘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.’
It might also be a good idea to hop back on the Zoom socials, even if you’ve become fed up with them.
‘Look for groups at work to join – or form – to increase your social interactions with others at your company,’ Amanda adds.
‘A little sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for your mental wellbeing,’ says Amanda.
‘Take advantage of your working arrangement to get outside during the daytime.’
Getting outside can stop you from feeling like you’re stuck inside on your own all day, plus, you can couple up a lunchtime walk with a phone call with a friend.
Mix up your workspace
If you can’t catch up with your colleagues, one way to beat loneliness is to simply be near people, even if you’re not working with them
Amanda suggests spending one day per week working outside of 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,’ she says.
‘Just having others around – even if you’re not working with them – will help you feel less lonely throughout the day.’
Make plans after work
Work doesn’t have to be about socialising, and it can just be for working.
But if you are starting to feel lonely, it’s good to remember that socialising isn’t just for the weekend.
‘If you’re not getting enough socialisation through your current work arrangement, start making plans with your friends or family throughout the week,’ says Amanda.
‘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.’
Ask your company for options
Finally, if feelings of loneliness are starting to weigh heavy on their mental health, it might be time to speak to your company.
‘Numerous companies increased their benefits during the pandemic to help employees cope with the added stress and take care of their mental wellbeing,’ says Amanda.
‘Take another look at your employee handbook or contact HR to find out if any programs or stipends are in place to help you manage your mental health.’
Your employer may be able to offer support with your mental health, such as free therapy or a subscription to a mindfulness app.
They may even suggest some activities for you and your colleagues to take part in or, fingers crossed, organise a staff party.
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