Prior to Covid-19, the office was the hub for all work-related activities. Now in the absence of in-person offices, many of us are realizing that the office was so much more than a workspace–– it was a social outlet. Thus, working remotely and being disconnected from our coworkers can feel isolating. Here are some tips to combat the isolation of remote work:
Oftentimes, work can feel all-consuming, leaving you little time for personal endeavors. That is why it is important to allocate a certain amount of time every day to connect with others. This could be in the form of a walk with a friend at lunch time, a phone call with a relative, or a text to a coworker. In any case, having a designated “social time” in your schedule will make you accountable for connecting with others.
Just because you can’t go into the office does not mean that you have to work in solitude. As long as you have a strong Wifi connection, you can work in coffee shops, restaurants, parks, malls, etc. Thus, you can be around people even if you aren’t working with people.
In the new virtual era, company-wide Zoom calls are a productive alternative to staff meetings. However, that does not mean that Zoom calls with coworkers need to be strictly business. President of Interior Motions, Jennifer Burton, lists “trivia, two truths and a lie, and polls” as fun elements to add to your weekly Zoom calls to foster community. For more ideas to build connections amongst employees, click here.
According to Facebook, there are “tens of millions” of groups to join that connect you with people who share your interests. This can be a great way to expand your social circle beyond your company.
Though most people are just trying to survive this difficult time period, it is important to capitalize on the opportunity for growth and self-reflection. Consider what you have learned from working remotely, acknowledge your weaknesses, and identify your goals. Then, apply your new knowledge to becoming a better employee, friend, and person. In a time where social interaction is limited, befriend yourself.
By practicing these strategies, you can help mitigate the negative effects of working from home and find new ways to thrive during the new normal. Hopefully, when we return to the office, there will be a newfound sense of gratitude for the office and the social connection it supports.
Whether you are working remotely or in person, it is important to focus on the depth of relationships you are fostering. Here are some additional strategies for cultivating meaningful relationships with coworkers.