Working From Home and Reducing Loneliness

Best Practices for Working From Home and Reducing Loneliness

Working from home can be great from several points of view, but it can also impact your productivity or make you feel lonely.

Whether you’ve just started on this new journey following the events of COVID-19, or you’ve been doing it for some time and are just feeling lonely nowadays, there are several ways to make it work! And communication is the key to overcoming remote work loneliness.

This article will share a comprehensive list of best practices for working from home to fight loneliness, improve your online communication skills, work on your mindset, and other helpful activities you could try to feel better when working remotely.

So if you’re new to remote work, keep on reading! 

Find the Ideal Place to Work and Change Scenery Often

Working from the same environment is helpful for your daily routine, but it might be troublesome when working from home. Separate the “workroom” from the one you spend your free time in, and you’ll feel the difference.

Better yet, change scenery by working from different rooms every day. Create a calendar to keep track of when you worked in which room. Add different moods in each room to create the perfect atmosphere when working from home. 

Remember that a laptop can help you work from everywhere, so pick a place nearby and work from there occasionally. Setting these boundaries can help your brain distinguish the working space from your leisure time, while the human connection element will make you feel more relaxed and confident.

Moving is a serious decision to make. Although that’s a bolder step, consider moving to a new place where you feel more comfortable. Surely you can’t just leave your friends and loved ones behind, and that’s why this step requires a ton of thought.

Lead the Way With Communication

One way of improving your work relationships and helping overcome the downsides of remote work comes by encouraging people to talk. Encourage your team to chat and discuss with each other about work, but not limited to that. Be the one who sets the tone and be proactive when reaching out to your co-workers. 

Think about it this way: 

When you work remotely, avoiding these uncomfortable disagreements that generally come and go in an office setting is easy. But once minor arguments grow, trust eventually fades away, so paying attention is essential.

Weekly Monday Jam

If you’re looking for a smooth way to sync up with your team and ensure weekly communication, you can start with a Weekly Monday Jam. This way, you can discuss the most important upcoming activities and find out if you need to reorganize things. 
Put aside the first 10-15 minutes of your call for an informal catch-up: morning coffee with the rest of the team and sharing the previous weekend’s highlights. Always remember that people need to create connections, and sharing experiences is a lovely way of getting closer, even if done online. 

Connect with your team constantly

Stay Connected With a Daily Round-Up Call

If you’re leading a team working virtually, don’t underestimate the power of a daily round-up call.

Regular communication between employees and managers has been proven to help develop efficient teams and build trust. It also reduces the feeling of competition, so people can work better together to achieve a common goal.

These video calls will also foster a sense of team spirit, fight loneliness, and can represent an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse at how people are feeling. 

Where Will You “Meet”

First, choose the best platform, depending on your needs. There are many available tools for working remotely, and we’ve got you covered with a complete list to boost your productivity and help you work more efficiently.  

Check Progress and Reiterate Goals

During this call, you should reiterate the team’s broader goals and check in with everyone on what they’re doing with their ongoing projects. Think about this: in a face-to-face setting, people can ask for feedback in seconds. When working remotely, these daily catch-ups can be your way of ensuring everyone’s on track and tackling any challenges that might arise in due time.

Small Talk Matters:

Encourage small talk and lighten up the mood. In our hyper-productivity-driven society, these informal chats create a real team feeling for each individual. Always consider your team’s top priorities and find ways to make your daily round-up friendlier.

Connect With People Who Feel Just Like You

The internet is full of online communities, and some of these are suited precisely for what you seek. Find a Facebook Group or a Forum for people who might experience the same feelings as you. Ask a friend or relative – they might know precisely where to point you, or continue reading as we have more best practices for your “work from home” habits!

Schedule Regular Breaks

It’s imperative to schedule breaks in your daily routine if you’re working from home. One way to prepare your breaks is by using the Pomodoro technique. There are plenty of apps that provide online times based on this working method. You can try Pomodoro Timer. It’s a free app available for Android, while for iOS, there’s the Focus To-Do app, available from the App Store.

One Pomodoro, Break, Two Pomodoros, Break

Break your workday into 25-minute chunks with five-minute breaks in between. These intervals are also known as “Pomodoros.” After about four pomodoros, take a more extended break of about 15 to 20 minutes.  

This break could mean having a cup of tea, having a virtual lunch with some other teammates, or simply going out to your backyard and enjoying the sun.

Go Outside for Your Lunch Break

While frequent breaks are a golden standard when working from home, you can also enjoy your lunch break outside.

It’s important to mention here that a lack of vitamin D can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. So this daily dose of vitamin D is critically important to your overall well-being. Make sure you include some sunlight in your breaks!

Take your phone but don’t stare at it during your lunch break. Instead, you can focus on the streets or scenery to get calm and return to work with your “mental batteries” refreshed. That refreshed feeling is what you need to get back to work and finish your day!

Communicate clearly through video calls

Communicate Clearly and Offer Feedback

As Jeremey Duvall of Automattic said: “In many ways, communication is the lifeblood of an organization.” When working from home, you’ll need to pay extra attention to how you communicate in writing, regardless of your role, but even more so if you’re a team leader/manager. 

Give some thought to the messages you’re sending. You’ll need to pay attention to:

  • The structure of your content: Bullet points like this can help!
  • Keep it short, sweet, and simple: Nobody enjoys those novel-type emails.
  • The level of detail you provide: Consider what information is necessary for the other person to understand clearly, but not get lost in the details. 
  • How your words could be interpreted: Written communication requires extra attention, as soft cues that work great face to face might be misinterpreted online.
  • Be open and transparent about your work: Task lists are a great way to show your progress and your team’s.

Feedback Brings Progress

Offer feedback: feedback becomes even more important when working remotely. Try to look at your message’s tone and refer to specific things when giving feedback. 

On the other hand, feel free to ask for feedback from your colleagues. Receiving constructive feedback will allow you to evaluate yourself better and know what skills you might need to develop further.
Sharing praise is also a great form of feedback known to be a great motivator and essential for building a team spirit, so never hold back from dropping a note to a colleague or collaborator who has been of great help.

Find the right tools to communicate with your team

Highlight Accomplishments 

Whether the results are individual or part of a group project, people who work remotely need to feel appreciated just as much as anyone else. Think about ways to highlight the best practices or results and communicate them through a team call or a thank you mail.

Find the Right Tools to Support Communication

Several virtual collaboration tools, like Slack, can help you overcome the distance barrier and provide the social component. These are great for starting social channels and communicating with employees. They also offer both group chat functions and direct messaging. 

Google offers a range of collaboration tools, too. This means more people can work together on the same document, allowing you to track each other’s progress and help one another get the job done. Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and more are just some of the tools Google offers for everyone that has an account.

If you need more options, check out our recent blog post that includes a list of remote working tools to make your work life easier. We’ve got them split by categories, covering communication, productivity, and many more.

Master a New Skill 

Got some extra time on your hands? Learning a skill is one of the best ways to beat loneliness. If you choose a group course, you will be in a virtual classroom and learn a skill you enjoy. There are plenty of options, so browse online and find the one that best suits your needs. If you own a business, we have a complete guide on creating and selling online courses at our HostPapa blog.

Get new activities like learning a new skill

We recommend going to a website like Coursera or Udemy and picking a course that will help you learn new skills or refine those skills you need to be an expert at your job. While you may not be in a classroom environment, you’ll develop a new skill, and having a new routine will help improve your overall state of mind. 

Make Plans for After Work

Ending your day with a walk or hitting the gym is more important than ordering a meal online and enjoying something on TV. Sometimes you need some fresh air to clear your mind, so going outside to enjoy the evening deems a necessity. 

Call a friend or family member to go out for a late evening meal or walk. Catching up with a friend to share a piece of news or two will do wonders if you feel isolated due to your remote work routine.

Get in Touch With Family Members and Friends

Familiar faces can help you overcome any loneliness you might experience during prolonged work sessions at home. If they’re are far away from you, consider hosting special virtual activities with them to stay connected or plan to visit them on your day off.

Phone calls with friends and family or video chatting are also excellent ways to stay connected while you’re away. A virtual happy hour, so to speak, can eliminate the feeling of isolation and draw you into a more comfortable mood.

Binge-watching shows together is another “new” kind of thing. Teleparty, for instance, allows you to synchronize video playback on Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, Amazon Prime and many others with your family and friends! At the same time, you can simultaneously comment on everything happening on the screen. 

Traditional mail might sound a little “extreme,” but it can help bring back that sense of warmness, and that’s invaluable. Sending a postcard or writing your news the old-fashioned way is highly underestimated in our digital times!

Join a Facebook or a Virtual Coworking Group  

If you’re working from home and get stuck in a loop, one of the best ways to overcome it is to leverage an online community of people in the same boat as you.

You should be able to post a note or comment and get responses from a large community of like-minded folks. So, for instance, if you’re a freelance copywriter, you should consider joining a high-quality Whatsapp group or Facebook group to interact with others like you. Just run a Facebook search for Copywriter groups, join a few and then see where the action is.  

Here are some generic examples we found on Facebook:

There are multiple virtual coworking groups on many platforms that work just like a real office – more on that later. Many apps can help you join virtual communities, and Discord is undoubtedly one of the best options. Search for “coworking groups” on its platform, and you’ll find more than enough servers to join and share your experiences with people.

You’ll be in a virtual room with others doing their work while you’re doing yours. You can communicate or chat with them while you’re working, through the chat functionality or via video, and schedule some time for common breaks with your virtual mates. 

If you don’t feel comfortable joining a group with people you don’t know, you can start your own with a remote colleague. 

Put aside some minutes for a team call

How does this work? 

It couldn’t be simpler: you’ll need to schedule some work calls/chats. You’ll each be working for 25 minutes straight (you decide together the length of a sprint) and then enjoy your break together. This will help increase your productivity and fight loneliness. Want to find more productivity tips for working remotely? Check out our productivity tips for remote workers blog.

Join a Coworking Space

If you prefer things more vis-a-vis, there are coworking offices in most cities that rent desks to people who feel like working in a warm environment. 

Search for coworking spaces in your town and check their prices. It helps to see new faces and connect with other professionals who use the same place as you. Sometimes it’s worth visiting them once or twice a week just to change the environment around you.

Try Exercising

While some people prefer to go outside for a walk with a friend or colleague, others prefer to exercise. Walking is considered an excellent exercise, but doing cardio and more intense workouts helps overcome feelings like loneliness.

All forms of exercise can eliminate emotions like loneliness and boredom and bring motivation to the forefront of everyone. Working out in groups or classes also helps to communicate with others, while exercising with your partner can produce the same results. 

Put a Smile On and Give it a Try

Many people work from home, especially nowadays, and it might feel tough if you’re starting now.

In your defence, research shows that remote workers or freelancers are more productive than people working in the office. The lack of daily commute, the sometimes flexible work schedule, and ample personal time are undoubtedly things that count toward a more productive and healthier employee.

Reports from the freelancing platform Upwork show that more and more people shift to freelancing, and this percentage grows yearly, while there’s a demand for more freelancing skills that make more people work from home.

The most important thing to know is that having a routine, improving your communication with your colleagues, and sometimes even opening up can help you fight stress, reduce the feeling of loneliness, and even achieve better results. Remember, taking care of your mental health is of utmost importance to be happy and more productive at work and other activities.

What is your recipe for making the best out of working remotely?

Enjoyed this article? Head over to the HostPapa blog to read more, and consider subscribing!

María is an enthusiast of cinema, literature and digital communication. As Content Coordinator at HostPapa, she focuses on the publication of content for the blog and social networks, organizing the translations, as well as writing and editing articles for the KB.

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