Lonely And Working Remote? Here's What To Do
Career & Money

Lonely And Working Remote? Here's What To Do

Working remote can be lonely as hell. There, I said it. I've been working remote, off-and-on, for more than ten years now, and the truth of the matter is that once you get past the high of time and space flexibility and the euphoric pleasure of not having to tolerate Chatty Cathy or Over-Ya-Shoulder Micromanager Molly, there's a crash phase where it all becomes this tragic scene of jaded disconnect.

And clearly, I'm not alone. Recent research shows that more than one-third of professionals feel lonely when working remote, and that loneliness increases by 67% when compared with working in a traditional office setting.

As much as remote work is glamorized, I, and many others, have oftentimes missed out on the benefits of everyday interactions with coworkers, teams, and supervisors, especially when it comes to mentorship, emotional support, and promotions. (I mean, let's be honest: Promotions really happen when managers and CEOs can actually observe, in person, your communication, social, emotional intelligence, and leadership skills. And there are certain nuances of leadership that are not truly evident via a virtual presentation or Slack thread.)

When the isolation sets in, work days can become monotonous, and you start to feel like you're not even a valuable part of the team anymore. Everything becomes just work, with hardly any of the human connection perks along with it. So how do you beat these feelings of loneliness and disconnect? Here are a few helpful tips:

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1. Invite coworkers to in-person meet-ups, game nights, or happy hours.

Just because you're remote doesn't mean you can't actually interact with others who work for your company. Send a Slack DM, a group email, or a LinkedIn message and invite coworkers or colleagues to have happy hour cocktails, go bowling, or get coffee. Attend local networking, volunteer, and conference events that you know in-office members of your team will be. Ask your manager about heading up a meet-and-greet for other remote professionals, or coordinate one of your own. This was super-helpful for me in moments of loneliness throughout the years simply because I found that I wasn't the only one feeling that way and that there were opportunities to connect that I hadn't really tapped into as much as I should have.

Find ways to interact with others to make that real-life connection beyond Zoom meetings or virtual activities that you've probably mentally checked out of being interested in anyway.

2. Schedule breaks to spend time outside during your work day.

Take your lunch to a park or nearby outdoor space and get some fresh air. Sometimes we get so caught up in meeting deadlines, staring at screens, and taking calls that we forget we need a bit of natural vitamin D from being outside. If you can, link up with other people in your industry (or who also work remote and live in your city) to do something fun during your lunch hour, and if you barely know anybody on your team, again, LinkedIn is your friend. Even if you don't directly interact on a day-to-day basis, having someone to talk to during a work break is always a great way to stay connected or even make a new friend.

For me, taking walks or getting lunch outside of my home office (hotel or Airbnb) office just helped me feel less detached and isolated.

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3. Spend more time with family, friends, bae, former classmates, and members of organizations you're part of.

Loneliness is oftentimes a sign you need to really lean into your current relationships with family, friends, and other people currently part of your network. I know, I know, sometimes mama-sister-cousin-and-em can't relate to the woes you face professionally, but maybe they can serve as the perfect reminder that you are indeed loved---which always, for me, fends off any feelings of loneliness when working remote. Go to that brunch, church service, BBQ, or lunch with your favorite family members and friends, and take deliberate steps to keep in touch on a consistent basis.

Sometimes loneliness is par for the course when working remote, but it doesn't have to make the experience a total fail. And if all else fails, request to return to the office, seek a hybrid situation, or find employment that truly taps into interaction with others.

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