This Is the No. 1 Thing Causing Loneliness at Work — And It’s Not a Toxic Boss

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April 16, 2024 at 1:10PM UTC

63% of employees are feeling isolated at work.

When employees feel lonely at work, usually workplace culture is the first culprit. Toxic bosses leave employees out of important conversations and projects; toxic coworkers gossip behind one another’s backs. Yet with the new workplace landscape, a new cause for isolation has bubbled to the surface.

Now, remote work is the number one reason why employees are feeling isolated at work.

For some, remote work can make you feel more productive, connected to your family or even improve your mental health. But for other remote employees — like ones who live alone, or ones who are joining an already close-knit team — working from home can truly make them feel alone.

So, what can you do if you’re feeling isolated while working remotely?

1. Find hubs to meet with others.

Working from home doesn’t always have to be taken literally. It can also mean working from a coffee shop, a coworking space, or even your friend’s living room. For me, moving to the living room to work next to my roommate always makes my working day feel more connected — even though we don’t even work in the same industry. Finding working spaces outside of your home where you can be around other people will help make you feel less isolated and more apart of a community, even if it’s a community of other remote workers.

2. Be honest with your manager.

If you’re feeling isolated while working remotely, you shouldn’t have to feel those feelings alone. Telling your manager how you’re feeling is a great way to start a conversation about communication, workflow and team collaboration while working remotely. If you’re uncomfortable telling your manager you feel isolated, focus the conversation on your team. Offer creative solutions for connecting your team virtually and mention how you’d like to spend more time collaborating or working with others.

3. Make time for connections.

Watercooler chats don’t happen as easily while working from home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have casual conversations with your colleagues virtually. Luckily, there are tons of options for facilitating these kinds of conversations. For example, the Slack app Donut can randomly pair colleagues together and suggest times that work for both of you to meet.

Connections over Zoom can be hard, especially when you feel burnt out from virtual meetings or communication. Suggest a 15-min Zoom chat with a colleague, or even set up a walking phone call so you both can enjoy some cameras off connection. If you’re hoping to connect with multiple people, adding some sort of game or activity — whether it be trivia or show-and-tell — can help liven the meeting and take pressure off compared to a conventional virtual happy hour.

Working remotely has its benefits, but it can also be much more isolating and lonely than working in-office, in-person, right next to others. If you’re feeling alone while working from home, you’re not the only one. Luckily, with the right structure, support and virtual connections, working remotely can feel a little less lonely.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for feeling less lonely while working remotely? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article does not reflect the views of Fairygodboss.

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