Working from home can have a dark side.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, most people are working from home. But as people gradually return to their jobs, the dark side of self-isolation – loneliness – can be seen.
Loneliness in the workplace can be a problem even when we work in an office, and the sudden transition to work from home can increase that risk.
“If you’ve worked in contact with people for a long time and are used to this kind of work environment, and now you are working remotely with very few contacts – this can be a huge problem,” said Ben Faning, author of work-related books, tells CNN.
Like staying on a remote island
Even when you are working from your home, besides your spouse and children running around the house, you can still feel lonely.
Research has shown that a sense of loneliness at work affects productivity, and you can become less efficient as a result of which colleagues may stop working with you.
Loneliness can have a downward spiral trajectory. You begin to overreact in a social sense and lose your social skills. You act more and more in solitude.
Lonely workers may feel that their colleagues are rejecting them, leaving them with the impression that they are difficult to access.
Employees who already felt neglected in the workplace and who were only sometimes greeted when they came to work may be more prone to loneliness while working from home.
The same way we get hungry and want to eat, so do we want social contacts. We don’t want to be alone.
How to beat loneliness?
During this period, more effort is needed to plan social contacts. Virtual meetings and telephone conversations with colleagues who can replace those short coffees and corridor meetings should be organized.
Don’t rely too much on your messages and e-mails
“A phone call is a much better remedy for loneliness than email, SMS or social networks,” Fanning says.
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And keep in mind: loneliness can change your outlook on interpersonal relationships. You believe that someone intentionally ignores your email, but in fact people are torn between work and children’s online school.
Employers play a huge role in preventing a sense of loneliness in their team. Regular team meetings must be held, and you should not be solely dedicated to the business. Add time to some other topics.
For example, “Who was doing something fun this weekend and wants to talk about it?”
However, you should carefully balance the sense of belonging to the team and bothering people with other issues that are wasting their time.