Coping with loneliness while working from home

For many, the daily commute to and from the office established a fixed schedule and integrated physical exercise, promoting personal wellbeing and fitness. As the coronavirus pandemic interrupted corporate norms, opening the doors to flexibility and freedom to work from home, the impact on mental health has been mighty. As the shelter provided by your home is expected to represent comfort and safety, a fraction of the population may turn to their workplace for refuge. Workers are isolated from colleagues due to social distancing, making debates typically blooming from daily chatter harder to experience while working from home. 

The Working at Home Wellbeing Survey conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) found that 50% of respondents said that they are unhappy with their current work-life balance and a third feel isolated. The survey shows that as working from home may be the way forward for the immediate future, efforts should be made to protect mental health as feelings of loneliness creep in and relationships are put to the test. 

Using technology to preserve relationships 

The integration of smart technology into your working life can reduce feelings of isolation, however, it’s just as important to consciously be sociable in your personal life as loneliness is not just limited to work life. Using pleasantries to virtually greet colleagues through the likes of Slack or MS Teams can maintain the daily ritual which would usually mark the start and end of your working day. As the coronavirus pandemic reduces its threat level and businesses transition back to the office setting, weakly maintained relationships are likely to feel the strain upon returning. 

Balancing work and home life 

As the scales representing your working day and life at home are unlevelled due to the introduction of working from home as a result of Covid-19, proactively tackling this by recalibrating the scales can help you live healthier. By abiding by a set routine, you can ensure that you are giving yourself a timeout from screen time and enabling yourself to clock off after your workday is over, contributing time to your loved ones. By blending work and home life commitments, you are likely to feel less satisfaction in both aspects, disrupting workflow.

As the pandemic changes our way of life due to strict social distancing measures, it’s important to take a break from work and dedicate time to self-care. Although you can assess pending tasks through the comfort of your home, there is no expectation for workers to be accessible round the clock, without good reason. 

Sharing the same boat through shared experiences 

Sharing the same atmosphere day in, day out with your colleagues, to working from home with limited notice is likely to impact a great portion of the workforce. By vocalising your concerns and personal struggles with loneliness, you may be able to help a distressed colleague battling the same worries. According to the survey carried out by IES, 20% are worried about job security, which may result in the impending threat of loneliness if your business is struggling due to Covid-19

Bonding over a shared experience can help trigger empathy and reduce the empty feeling of isolation. As the Covid-19 lockdown led to working from home with no notice period in advance to prepare, the emotions of millions of other employees are likely to mirror yours. 

As working from home led to the implementation of innovative technology imitating the flow of natural conversations through accessible instant messaging, adapting to the change and embracing the greater degree of flexibility which comes with working from home has helped workforces cope with the change and keep loneliness at bay. 

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