With the rise of remote work and the "always-on" culture that we've developed, it's easy to feel like you're on an island, even when you're surrounded by coworkers. And these feelings of isolation or disconnectedness in the workplace are becoming more and more commonplace in today's world with 8 out of 10 employee globally reporting that they have felt or feel lonely at work. What's worse is that unmitigated loneliness affects productivity, morale, and even mental health.
To help address this issue, we’ve compiled a list of five effective strategies that can help you and your coworkers manage workplace loneliness and boost your mood.
#1. Build and maintain your workplace social tribe
Maintaining professional relationships and staying in touch with your colleagues is an excellent way to combat loneliness in the workplace. In fact, 95% percent of employees who have friends at work feel happier and more fulfilled than others.
Socializing is a great way to keep both stress and loneliness at bay. And it can be as simple as initiating small talk with your coworkers while grabbing a cup of coffee, joining after-work social events or inviting an office mate (or two) to lunch.
#2. Volunteer for group activities
Volunteering for group activities, team training or charity events can provide a great opportunity to network, bond and learn new things. It's been found that employees who volunteer have improved job satisfaction and lower feelings of isolation.
Although it might mean stepping out of your comfort zone for some of you, giving back to the community is not only an excellent way to combat loneliness, it's also fulfilling.
#3. Switch up your environment
Sometimes, a change of scenery can do wonders for our mental health. If you're feeling particularly isolated or disconnected at work, try switching up your environment.
Whether that means moving to a different desk or workspace, rearranging your office, or even working outside for a day, a change of pace can help shake things up and give you a fresh perspective.
#4. Prioritize your mental health
It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of work life, but it's crucial to prioritize your mental health, especially if you're feeling lonely or disconnected. Take breaks throughout the day to stretch, meditate or practice some other form of self-care.
And if you're struggling, don't be afraid to reach out for help, whether that's from a therapist, a support group, or a trusted friend or colleague.
#5. Be vulnerable and talk it out
Finally, one of the best ways to manage workplace loneliness is to open up about your feelings. Talk to your colleagues, your manager or someone else you trust about how you're feeling. Chances are you're not the only one who's struggling, and opening up can help create a sense of camaraderie and support.
Remember, it's okay to be vulnerable. In fact, it's often the first step towards feeling more connected and less alone.
Loneliness in the workplace is now common and is a phenomenon that shouldn't be ignored. It can lead to mental health issues, lower job satisfaction and lower productivity. Identifying the problem and responding to it with positive behavior can lead to fulfilling relationships with colleagues, happier life overall, and a healthier working environment. And again, your mental and emotional wellbeing is of the utmost importance, so pay attention to any signs of loneliness and take action.
If you found this blog post helpful, please share it with your friends and colleagues. And if you have any other tips, share them in the comments below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rob Stalder is driven by the one thing he values most in life: joy. The joy in feeling like a kid again, the joy in fulfilling a sense of adventure, the joy in making a difference in peoples’ lives and the joy in helping others become the best versions of themselves. He uses the skills and expertise he's garnered throughout his career to bring joy to life—both for himself and for others.