In most cases, working remotely means spending most of your working hours staring at your monitor, with little or no human interaction, thus depriving you of the social interactions you require and reducing your productivity.
Although the remote work model is not solely responsible for this problem, it certainly exacerbated feelings of loneliness in the workplace. In this article, we will cover some effective tools to help you manage loneliness while working from home.
Does Work Loneliness Hurt Your Productivity?
Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling that arises from a perceived state of social exclusion. In general, you feel lonely when there is a discrepancy between the level and quality of social interaction you desire and what you are experiencing.
A prolonged feeling of loneliness can have negative effects on your personal life, such as increased stress and anxiety. It doesn’t end there; your productivity at work can also take a hit when you feel cut off from your coworkers.
It can negatively affect your professional life in several ways, including reduced engagement and collaboration, loss of motivation and decreased work satisfaction, inability to focus on the job at hand, which in turn takes a toll on the quality of your work, and reduced creativity.
The good news is that there are several tools you can use to tackle work-from-home loneliness.
The Best Tools and Tips to Fight Remote Work Loneliness
1. Practice Mindfulness With Smiling Mind
Prolonged feelings of loneliness can take a toll on your mental health; therefore, practicing mindfulness can go a long way towards improving your wellbeing.
Smiling Mind is a meditation app that makes it easy to find moments of peace throughout your day by providing you with free mindfulness resources at your fingertips.
It has several dedicated programs for adults, including mindfulness foundations, Sleep 21 Nights Program, Digital Detox, and workplace programs, to name a few. This is an effective tool that can help you start your mindfulness journey, even if you have never tried any meditation exercises before.
Download: Smiling Mind for Android | iOS (Free)
2. Find Like-Minded People on Meetup
One of the best remedies to loneliness is rediscovering your passions and finding other people who share them. Meetup is a platform that allows you to do just that.
Meetup is a networking tool that allows you to find and meet people who share your interests. You can choose from a wide range of categories, including art & culture, health & wellbeing, games, music, social activities, and more. It then curates both online and in-person events from all over the world, as well as those closest to you, allowing you to meet like-minded people wherever you are.
You can also create your own community (group) to host events and talk about your favorite topics with interested people. Meetup also has a messaging feature to help you stay in touch with group members after an event.
Download: Meetup for Android | iOS (Free, Offers in-app purchases)
3. Start Your Book Club on Bookship
Talking of creating a group with other like-minded individuals, how about you start an online book club with some of your remote colleagues to share your passion for books? This can help you foster the healthy connections you have been missing and improve your productivity at work.
Bookship is a great platform that allows you to create an online book club. You can use this tool to create groups, discuss a book you have recently read with group members via text or video call, or meet other fellow bibliophiles from around the globe.
Bookship also compiles your book club’s favorite books in a list that is available for everyone to browse and provides book recommendations based on your interests and what other people in the group are reading.
Download: Bookship for Android | iOS (Free, offers in-app purchases)
4. Connect With Colleagues Through Slack
One of the main reasons you might be struggling with loneliness is that remote work has its set of unique communication challenges that make it harder to feel connected with your coworkers.
Slack is a communication tool that helps remote teams share important information and stay in touch using channels (groups), direct messages, file sharing, audio and video calls, and more. In addition, it allows you to integrate third-party apps into your Slack workspace to bring all your work to a single place.
For example, if you are already using Zoom for video calls with your colleagues, you can sync the Zoom account to Slack and join a call directly from your workspace. To manage remote work loneliness, you can dedicate the first few minutes of your daily meetings to casual conversations that build connections and set the tone for a productive discussion.
You can take it a step further by adding fun Slack games and apps like Donut to your workplace communication toolkit to make your remote workdays more collaborative and engaging. Donut aims to recreate those water cooler conversations you used to have in the physical office right in your Slack workspace.
This tool randomly pairs colleagues for casual chats, virtual coffees, or other fun activities. It helps break your daily routine, and inspires new connections and fun conversations that may otherwise elude you in the virtual workplace.
Download: Slack for Android | iOS (Free, premium version available)
5. Change Your Work Environment Periodically
Working remotely does not mean restricting yourself to the confines of your home office. You can take advantage of your flexibility to work from other locations or spend time with friends and family.
You can work with other colleagues in a coworking space in your area, sip your favorite drink while working from a coffee shop, or take your work to the beach to enjoy the nice weather.
A change of scenery will boost your mood and allow you to work with greater focus and creativity.
Remote Work Does Not Have to Feel Lonely
Working from home must not be a lonely experience. There are many ways to stay connected with your coworkers and break the isolation of remote work. In fact, it can be an opportunity to discover yourself, foster healthy relationships with your colleagues, and enjoy your favorite activities with other people who share your interests.
It’s all about making a conscious effort to do so. You can leverage the tools and tips above to overcome loneliness and reap the many benefits of working on a distributed team.
Loic is a freelance content writer at MakeUseOf and a lifelong learner. He has been chasing his passion for writing since 2016. He enjoys trying out new tech gadgets and software with the potential to help users become more productive.
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This content was originally published here.