While initially introduced en masse as a temporary measure to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, many organisations have retained flexible working to some degree beyond the mandated period, with the practice now firmly established as an intrinsic part of working life in 2022.
Despite widespread adoption of remote working having been warmly welcomed by many workers, not all have taken to it quite so well, especially those who live alone. Research carried out by Gallup showed that, during Q2 of 2021, almost two in 10 workers reported feelings of loneliness while working remotely.
According to the British Red Cross, some describe symptoms of loneliness as including a loss of confidence, tiredness, and frustration, as well as feelings of isolation, and being trapped or without a purpose.
With flexible working becoming increasingly common, we’ve put together a few of our top tips for overcoming loneliness while working from home.
Working collaboratively within the metaverse
Employees who miss the experience of working collaboratively alongside colleagues in the office will be pleased to hear that the metaverse presents a plethora of new opportunities for them to do so while working remotely.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of the metaverse, it is, broadly speaking, an entirely new way for people to use the internet by transforming it from 2D to 3D. This means that people can virtually inhabit the metaverse through their very own avatar, making it a totally unique and immersive experience, with a seemingly limitless amount of potential applications.
Among these is the ability to create a virtual office space for your company within the metaverse, which you and your colleagues can then use to hold team meetings, brainstorm ideas, or simply enjoy the sense of camaraderie and socialisation commonly associated with a traditional office setting.
By harnessing the potential of the metaverse, workers can remain fully engaged with and connected to their colleagues, no matter where they might be working from.
Make the most of your flexible schedule
The advent of remote working has meant that many workers have saved considerable amounts of time and money on having to regularly travel to and from the office. For those who feel lonely while working from home, this presents an opportunity to take advantage of the extra time and money they have through not having to travel as much.
For example, workers can socialise with friends more during the week, whether that means grabbing breakfast or coffee with a neighbour, spending more time with their children before dropping them off at school, or taking their dog for a walk in the park.
With people having stuck to the same work routine for so long, it can be easy to overlook the newfound opportunities for socialising that a more flexible schedule offers.
As remote working typically leads to a more sedentary lifestyle than commuting, it is now more important than ever for people to remain as active as possible.
Beyond the obvious physical implications involved with not getting enough exercise, a lack of activity can also lead to feelings of apathy that are detrimental to your mental health. Doing regular exercise, meanwhile, can help combat anxiety and depression by releasing endorphins into your brain.
So, if you feel like you’ve grown too attached to your sofa while working from home, be sure to take a break from the screen and get outside for some fresh air. Whether you go for a walk or a run, staying fit and healthy is likely to help stave off the negative feelings that contribute to loneliness.
Remote working doesn’t need to be a lonely experience
As remote working grows increasingly commonplace, it is highly likely that we will be spending more and more of our time away from our colleagues and traditional places of work.
While it is easy to see this lack of physical interaction with co-workers as a bad thing, there are still plenty of ways you can stay connected with those within your organisation. What’s more, working from home offers greater flexibility to spend more time socialising with friends and family, or pursuing your favourite hobbies.
Remote working doesn’t have to lead to feelings of loneliness – in fact, if you take full advantage of the opportunities it presents, you’re likely to find quite the opposite.
In the most extreme cases, however, loneliness can cause thoughts of suicide and self-harm, and as such should be treated with the utmost seriousness.
If you are experiencing feelings of suicide or self-harm as a result of loneliness and need someone to talk to, you can call the British Red Cross support line on 0808 196 3651, or the Samaritans on 116 123.