As the world enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote employees feel more isolated than ever. According to a survey from One Poll and Volley, 7 out of 10 employees who work from home report feeling increasingly isolated after more than a year out of the office. Two-thirds of respondents also report feeling disconnected from their teams, with a similar percentage reporting they work directly with someone they could not pick out of a lineup.
Loneliness can result in poor mental health outcomes, such as depression or anxiety. Employers should be concerned that isolation can lead to increased stress levels and poor decision-making, both of which can hurt business. However, it can be difficult to detect symptoms of isolation.
To better thrive in remote work situations, employers should encourage employees to:
1. Reach out to coworkers. Utilizing video and audio calls throughout the week to communicate and brainstorm with coworkers can increase feelings of collaboration and inclusion. It can also help teams communicate more effectively and avoid misunderstandings.
2. Work outside the house once a week. As more COVID-19 vaccinations are administered and restrictions are lifted, it can be helpful to work outside the home at least one day per week. A library, café or co-working space can help fight feelings of isolation.
3. Go outside for lunch. Taking a break and enjoying a nice walk during lunch can help bring fresh energy back to work. Making time for movement outside or inside can help boost endorphins.
4. Make plans for after work. Schedule time with friends and family after work to feel less lonely. Having plans can also ensure employees don’t overwork or get burnt out.
Employers should be proactive in reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation in remote workers to improve morale and business outcomes. For more information, contact us today.