Remote working has exploded in popularity over the past few years. This is great if you value freedom and are self-motivated, but the downside is remote work loneliness. In the beginning, it’s easier to avoid loneliness while working from home, but as time goes on having tips for remote workers to avoid loneliness will go a long way. Not only can it improve your productivity, it can also help avoid burnout from remote work and ensure you enjoy a long, healthy career as a remote worker.
As a remote worker, I’ve found staying mindful of remote work loneliness is key if when trying to avoid loneliness while working from home, improving relationships with clients, staying on track, and remaining positive and productive. Check out the 7 tips for remote workers to avoid loneliness and ways to avoid burnout from remote work.
1. Set your schedule with dedicated focused blocks
People often have this idea that remote workers sit around in their pajamas, maybe watching tv while they do work, or catching up on tasks around the house, like laundry. Initially, this might seem like a good idea, but anyone who is a remote worker, knows this is not how you avoid burnout from remote work.
There are a couple of ways to avoid falling into this trap. One of those ways is to set your schedule ahead of time with dedicated working blocks, and short dedicated breaks to eat lunch, get up and move, or to just step back from your work for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep in mind that you have the option to create a schedule outside of the normal 9 - 5 working hours. If those are not your peak hours, don’t confine yourself to them. Don’t try to multi-task, and take care of too many things at once. That is a sure way to get burnt out, as you will likely feel as if you’re doing a ton, but have nothing to show for it. Even just having a dedicated workspace at home, rather than moving around the house throughout the day, can make a huge difference.
2. Build-in social time into your schedule
As mentioned above, not everyone is built to be productive during regular 9-5 work hours. We recommend taking advantage of that flexibility, get to know what times you work best, and build in time for extra socializing during your less productive times.
When your office is in your home, the line between work and personal hours can start to blur. Making plans after-work, before the workday begins, or throughout the day forces you to get you out of the house and off of the computer. Secondly, when you work remotely, it’s common to miss out on spending time working or socializing with your teammates. The best way to get around this is to make plans with friends or family members during the week. Taking social breaks gives you something to look forward to, prevents feeling disconnected or isolation from your team and community, and helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Maybe you start work later in the day, or much earlier, either way, you likely have the opportunity to build in more socializing. What that looks like is totally up to you. Maybe you grab breakfast or coffee with a neighbor, spend time with your children before taking them to school or daycare, or take your dog to the park with a friend who also has a dog in the area so you can socialize while the dogs play. If you prefer social plans at the end of the day, this helps you create a clear end time to your workday. This is essential if you want to avoid burnout from remote work! No matter what it is, setting your schedule so that it includes time to socialize during your workweek helps you avoid loneliness while working from home.
3. Take a break from your home office
One of the best tips for remote workers to avoid loneliness that we can recommend is to get out of your home office, and find someone to work in the world. Try to work outside of your home at least one day per week. One of the biggest challenges we face as remote workers are the moments when we feel alone. When remote work loneliness begins to creep in, it can greatly impact productivity, connection to your teammates, and your all-around wellbeing. Of all the tips for remote workers to avoid loneliness, our top one might be just making it your number one priority to recognize loneliness and have a list of ways to combat that loneliness.
We recommend starting with taking a break from your home office. This could be a co-working space, a coffee shop, a college, or a local library. Whatever you choose, just make sure you make time to surround yourself with other people.
4. Spend time with other remote workers
For most of us, it’s most beneficial to interact with other remote workers. They understand your lifestyle, the challenges you face, and can offer you some support. As remote working has exploded in popularity, and more of us become aware of our susceptibility to remote work loneliness, coworking spaces have begun popping up. These offer the perfect solution for remote workers that want to avoid loneliness at work.
Maybe you have a friend or two who also works remotely, schedule some time to meet up and work together. Even when you aren’t interacting with other people, the change of scenery often helps you feel like you're a part of a bigger community.
5. Stay connected with your community
To take this a step further, make sure you’re making an effort to be part of your local community, whether that’s a community of remote workers or something entirely different is up to you. The key is to connect with others who share your values, support or share something in common, or appreciate the same things you do. Being part of a community is one of the best ways to avoid burnout from remote work because it provides you with a place to feel connected to other people.
This can be as simple as joining a sports league, volunteering, participating in a small group that does an activity together, an online forum, a group in your neighborhood, and so forth.
6. Communicate with your team with videos and phone calls
It’s so easy to communicate exclusively with your team through instant messaging platforms, text messages, and emails. Initially, it might feel great to have so much flexibility and independence, but over time, that level of isolation often leads to remote work loneliness. It also makes you much more likely to blur the line between work and personal life as you quickly send and answer messages at all hours of the day. In order to avoid burnout from remote work make sure you are regularly communicating with your team, and scheduling meetings, and check-ins. This not only helps structure your workday and increase productivity, but it also helps you feel more connected to the team as a whole. It’s important to feel like you are part of something bigger, and part of a community.
To avoid loneliness while working from home, make it a point to schedule calls and meetings to brainstorm, discuss ideas, or present your point of view on a subject with one or more of your team members. This is especially important if you need to explain a complex concept or there is a disagreement or misunderstanding with a teammate. Trying to resolve these issues through a series of emails or texts can easily lead to frustration and even more miscommunications. If you're already struggling with remote work loneliness or symptoms of burnout, you’ll likely increase these feelings as more and more miscommunication and misunderstanding may be happening on a regular basis.
Instead, hop on a video or audio call. There are so many video conferencing software, screen recording explainer videos, and calling options that save you so much time! So take advantage of these options to not only communicate more effectively, but to also help you avoid burnout from remote work. Seeing or even just hearing a team member’s voice will reduce our frustration, misunderstanding, and sense of loneliness. Plus, you will save tons of time writing out lengthy explanations of complex ideas. Take advantage of cultivating a collaborative and healthy work environment with the right communication tools.
7. Participate in regular office meetings
Building off of the idea of connecting with team members to resolve any misunderstandings, and more effectively communicate complex ideas, participate in weekly or monthly meetings. As a remote worker, you might not feel as included or a part of the team, if you’re not actively participating in regular office-wide meetings. If you work in an office with several remote workers, there might already be some processes and systems in place to ensure a significant effort to include remote employees, no matter where they work.
If not, speak with your manager about extending the invite to remote works, and including a video conferencing link to the calendar event so remote attendees are prepared to join the meeting. Depending on your location and schedule, perhaps you can even attend meetings on a regular or semi-regular basis. If you work for a company that has a large number of remote employees, either on a specific team or throughout the entire company, it might be built into the budget to bring remote employees into the office on a semi-regular basis. If this is the case, take advantage of this opportunity! Building relationships and networking with your team in person on occasion is one of the top tips for remote workers to avoid loneliness. The occasional visit here and there can greatly enhance how well and how in-sync you work with your team on a day-to-day basis.
Any amount of time you spend time with your team understanding how they work and communicate will help you build better relationships with your peers and feel more connected to your work community as a whole.
Final words on how to avoid loneliness while working from home
As a remote worker, I actively take every measure to avoid burnout from remote work. When I feel valued, and part of a team, I’m more productive, communicate clearly, and provide an accurate flow of information with my team members. I know that the smallest miscommunication can jeopardize the success of the team, project, relationship with a client and that it can lead to remote work loneliness.
Technology and better forms of online communication in the workplace have made working remotely far more manageable. Slack for instance, allows me to quickly share images, documents, comment in threads to keep conversations organized, create custom channels, integrate tools, message or voice call clients or team members individually, or tag individuals so they don’t miss anything important. This is the perfect platform to help keep clients and team members up-to-date.
There are tons of resources and platforms, like CloudApp, and Slack, that have allowed me to implement much better ways to maintain positive relationships with teammates, increase productivity, and avoid burnout from remote work.
Remote work has quickly become a growing trend across many industries, and for good reason! Make the most out it with a little planning and the right tools to make it work.