Not many positive things came from the pandemic, but working from home and remote options certainly were something that everybody now appreciates. Of all the things that have gone back to normal since the pandemic happened, working from home is our new norm. The only problem with working from home is the lack of opportunities for social meetups.
For some people, being at home and not being forced to interact outside of office hours with their coworkers is a blessing. Nobody wants to be forced into interactions they were not happy with. For others, working from home has meant loneliness has set in. With fewer opportunities to meet up socially after work and go to the pub, more people are feeling sad about that. Preparing to work from home is not so difficult, especially when you can shop around for the right desks and chairs. But did you know that more than 1/3 of American adults report loneliness during the pandemic, and this has leached into their working-from-home arrangements.
There’s only so much that Zoom or Teams can really do to help to combat that loneliness, so you have to do what you can to avoid it. With this in mind, we’ve put together some tips to help you to combat that loneliness if you are working remotely and feeling it.
Make some plans
You might not be in an office with your coworkers, and you might not easily be able to head to the pub after work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan to. Going out with friends now and again can help you to enjoy being at home even more because you appreciate being at home and working for yourself. Getting out with your friends now and again can help you to appreciate working from home as well, so consider the fact that you’ll be able to pull a better work-life balance if you decide to actively socialize. Making plans to see people or go places can help you to improve your skills with communication as well because while video calls are very convenient, there’s not the same thing as going to an escape room and having fun with your friends face to face.
Reach out if you’re struggling
Don’t do things in silence if you’re finding things difficult. It’s very easy to cut yourself off when you work from home, and you might not even realise that you’ve done it. If you’re struggling with loneliness, reach out to other people around you because you might find that they are feeling the same way. When their sense of belonging is reinforced with healthy social Connexions, you get to be among like-minded people. Even if it’s just your team members that you want to reach out to, make sure that you do it because that’s exactly what they’re there for.
Move your body
You don’t have to join a gym for this one, you can simply go outside and walk in the fresh air. Exercise is a really good way to get yourself out there, and if you are working from home it might help you to buy a dog. This way, you are forced to go out of the house at least two to three times a day to give your dog some fresh air and a good walk. Exercise classes can also help you to decrease loneliness and improve your social connectivity. Take some walks in nature, join a fitness class, or even just go cycling. Not only will you meet new people, but you’ll also get some fresh air, and it will make you feel good.
Stop working from home
You can still work remotely but not be stuck in your house. If you go to a coworking space, you can effectively have a hot desk, which means that you will be able to work in a shared space with other people without having to be in your actual working office and commute. Coworking spaces have absolutely boomed since the pandemic, and it’s no wonder, not everybody is cut out to work on their own in their house. You might not want to work just in your home alone either, so making sure that you go to a coworking space can really help you to improve the way that you work. The pandemic may have thrown a wrench in the works, but it doesn’t have to be that way forever.
Get a pet
You don’t have to go for a dog if you don’t have the time commitment to look after it, but having a cat in the house can often be enough to make you feel less lonely. Sure, the cat isn’t exactly going to be talking back to you when you need some conversation, but it will still be able to make you feel like you’re not so alone. Of course, you should only consider this as an option if you have the time and the patience to be able to look after an animal, because as they say a pet is for life not just for temporary enjoyment.
Start connecting with people online
Head over to Facebook and start joining groups of people who do the same things that you do. It doesn’t just have to be career-wise either, you can join Facebook groups for things that interest you. For example, if you like to stream gaming on Twitch or Discord, you’ll find a lot of like-minded people online who are happy to join in and do this with you. Not only can you gain a whole new bank of friends, but it’s a very social way to get together because you can effectively meet up online. You might not have considered this to be an option before, but it is actually one that is very popular right now. You can make some long-lasting friendships, and you can even have more impactful conversations if you don’t want to go down the gaming route. Sure, the world is virtual, but smart apps can help you with almost everything these days, so why not make friends?
Make your online chat your new water cooler
You may have heard all the jokes about people gathering around the water cooler at work to talk when they should be working. You don’t have that option when you work from home, but whatever system your company is using to have conversations and connect when you work from home can be used as your brand-new water cooler. This way, you can still engage and have conversations with people who work with you, and you don’t have to feel so alone all the time. Talk to your colleagues about things that don’t just relate to work as well. If you’ve watched a new movie, or you’re hooked on a new game, spread the conversation to see if anybody else has the same interests.
Take time to meditate
Meditation can really help when it comes to feelings of loneliness. If you’re unsure where you should begin, head over to YouTube because there are plenty of videos there that can teach you exactly how you should meditate to be most effective. Don’t be worried or fooled by the fact that meditation is hard because you will get the hang of it eventually, and then you’ll thank yourself for taking a moment to do that for yourself for a change. The more you meditate now, the better you will feel. You will decrease your feelings of loneliness and feel so much better within yourself as a result.
Change your view
Sometimes you need to work elsewhere, so take your laptop with you to a coffee shop or even head to the local park. Not only will you feel more connected to people who are just going about their lives around you, but being in nature can increase feelings of connectedness and serenity. If you don’t want to go too far with your laptop, or you’re nervous about being hacked, head outside the garden, set up a table and work outside!
Talk to strangers
You might spend your whole life listening to people tell you not to talk to strangers, but in this case, you should. Making friends often takes reaching out and going beyond your comfort zone, so talking to strangers is on your menu. Social interactions with strangers can actually be so beneficial to your health, and you might be able to make some lifelong friends out of it. Don’t be afraid to engage with people you don’t know, just make sure you are doing it in a safe setting.