4 Tips for When You’re Feeling Disconnected While Working Remotely
Working from home has a lot of perks. You don’t have to commute or think about wearing work-appropriate attire. You don’t have to pack a lunch or think about all the laundry you need to get done once you’re home. Even with these benefits, working from home also has a few cons. One of which is feeling disconnected from your teammates and fellow coworkers.
Working remotely can trigger feelings of isolation. Without the water cooler talks or in-person interactions, you can quickly feel out of touch. These feelings can make it challenging to get work done or be productive. You may turn to social media throughout the day or look for distractions to take your mind off your feelings.
If you are feeling disconnected, know that you’re not alone. This is a growing problem, especially as more and more companies go completely remote. Fortunately, there are steps you can do now to keep these feelings at bay. Keep reading to discover four tips for when you’re feeling disconnected while working remotely.
First of all, you need to be open and acknowledge how you’re really doing. If you’re new to remote work, you may think that these feelings are just part of working at home. However, working in isolation doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have connections with your teammates. It’s possible to have a strong bond with coworkers even if none of you see each other on a daily basis.
Due to the pandemic, more people are working from home and are bringing up these conversations naturally. This can make embracing your feelings a bit easier as you navigate coping with your emotions. Some common feelings you may be experiencing are anxious thoughts, emptiness, and overall sadness. If you are experiencing depression, you might want to seek professional help. There are prescription medications readily available to improve your overall quality of life.
Forming close relationships with your team can be hard when you’re not working in an office. And yet, it’s these closer bonds that can boost morale and company culture. Making friends at work means thinking small rather than large. Just like you wouldn’t try to befriend everyone at once at the office, don’t try to do the same remotely. The key is to think small over large, setting up smaller channels of communication rather than larger ones.
This can be as simple as starting a separate Slack channel for a specific project you’re working on. It can also look like scheduling regular check-ins with your direct employees via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Doing so can provide the more intimate, casual forms of chit-chat that are expected in an office setting. It’s during these smaller conversations that you can bond. You may find a shared hobby with a teammate or discover that you live within walking distance from a coworker.
A huge benefit of working from home is designating your own schedule. While some companies may expect you to log on for a typical 9-5 day, many are letting go of this strictness. As long as you are getting your work done in a timely manner, managers may not care when you are online. However, burning the midnight oil to get your work done may not be beneficial from a connection POV. In fact, you may feel more isolated and disconnected seeing everyone’s Slack messages set at “away” or “unavailable.”
If you can, try to sync up your schedule to match your teammates as much as possible. Messaging teammates and receiving responses in real time can help form the relationships you’re craving. While you’re setting your schedule, be conscious of how you end your day. Recent research shows that 21% of Americans can’t unplug from their work, leading to more stress and anxiety. Once you close your laptop, give yourself time to go for a walk with your dog or attend an exercise class to help you separate yourself from your workday.
If you’re feeling disconnected from your team, chances are others are feeling it as well. One way to encourage interpersonal connections is through team building exercises. Before you roll your eyes, give this idea a chance! Team building is an opportunity to get to know your coworkers better in a relaxed setting.
There are several ways to facilitate team building in a remote setting. These exercises can range from hosting virtual happy hours to encouraging recognition award ceremonies. You can also outsource an exercise instructor or trainer for a virtual workout class. Scheduling regular team building exercises throughout the month is something everyone can look forward to. Ask for input from your coworkers to see what they would like to do, and ask if they would like to help organize them with you.
Just because you aren’t physically seeing your coworkers doesn’t mean you have to feel isolated. Proactively reaching out and scheduling smaller conversations can be helpful. Working typical hours as much as you can also helps facilitate connectedness. And scheduling fun, interactive team building sessions can boost overall morale. While it may take a bit of effort, feeling connected as a remote employee is attainable.