The work-from-home movement is here to stay. It’s been over a year since the pandemic forced worldwide lockdowns and millions of workers made the transition to remote working. Yet, many are still working from home and enjoying the flexibility it offers. In fact, 54% of workers surveyed by Pew Research Center say they want to continue working from home in the post-COVID era.
Still, remote work is not without its difficulties. What’s the biggest work from home challenge? For many, it’s loneliness. About 14.5% of remote workers struggle with loneliness, according to Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work report. That figure is down from 17% in the pre-COVID era, but it’s still a concerning number.
But here’s the good news: working from home doesn’t have to be lonely.
4 Ways to Beat the Biggest Work From Home Challenge: Loneliness
1. Make Plans After Work
If you don’t have the opportunity to socialize during work hours, try making after-work plans with friends or family during the week. Even something as simple as a Zoom happy hour with some co-workers can help stave off loneliness and give you a chance to decompress.
Making plans during the week also forces you to stop working at the end of the day. Burnout is a big problem for remote workers, so it’s crucial to draw that line between work and personal life.
2. Use Your Flexible to Your Advantage
The great thing about remote working is that you have more freedom. Why not take advantage of that freedom? Go out to breakfast with a friend. Spend more time with the kids before they head off to school. Take the dog to the park in the morning or afternoon.
Finding new and creative ways to socialize can help keep loneliness at bay.
While work has traditionally been a primary source of socialization for adults, it doesn’t have to be. Join local groups or clubs. Maybe there’s a co-working space nearby. The key is to find ways to interact with people throughout the day. Even a brief chat with the server at a coffee shop can make a difference in your day.
3. Work Outside of Your Home
Remote working gives you the flexibility to work wherever you want. Don’t limit yourself to your home office or backyard. At least once a week, find somewhere to work that’s outside of your home, such as a:
Surrounding yourself with other people can make a difference. If you have friends who work remotely, bring them along. Even if you aren’t socializing with the people around you, simply being out and about can make you feel like you’re a part of the community.
4. Use Collaborative Tools and Video Conferencing
Finding ways to interact with an in-person vibe is a big remote collaboration challenge, but video conferencing and innovational collaboration tools can help.
At Boardit, we’re redefining what it means to whiteboard together remotely with cheap and readily available hardware. Our web-based application allows the real feeling of whiteboarding for interactive sessions anywhere, which means you can use your physical whiteboard as a leader board for your happy hour game.
The right tools can really make a difference in bringing that in-person, human element into the equation. That’s where we come in.
These are just a few of the many ways remote workers can stave off loneliness when working from home. Finding new opportunities for interaction and taking advantage of your flexible schedule can make a world of difference.