How to Proactively Manage Isolation as a Remote Employee
By Victoria Vanderbilt, Founder and CEO of TelecommutersTalk
We're grateful to Victoria for sharing her experience especially as we've spent the past two months connecting with our remote community about health and wellness challenges alongside solutions. Any opinions expressed within the blog are those of the author and not necessarily held by Workplaceless itself.
Remote working is growing and has many advantages both for the employers and employees. With the advantages also come a few disadvantages, and one of the main challenges of remote work is managing isolation. Isolation can lead to mental health issues like depression, social anxiety, low self-esteem, and dementia. To ensure you stay connected and have face-to-face interactions, you need to be diligent.
According to the 2019 State of the Digital Workspace report from Igloo, 70% of remote employees feel left out of the workplace. 57% of remote employees are missing out on crucial information. The information doesn’t get transferred in person, and 55% get excluded from meetings because of their remote location.
Here are a few tips for managing isolation proactively:
- In-person: Make every attempt to meet with your team in-person regularly. We have lots of collaborative tools to help us stay connected, but it does not replace face-to-face connections. When you do have in-person meetings, find time to go to lunch with your colleague to enhance bonding. You may be surprised how different people are on the phone compared to in-person and the non-verbal details you can gather.
- Follow-up: When you are on a conference call and know that there will need to be a meeting after the meeting, be proactive, and call your teammate or manager right after. Send a chat message to your colleague if you have another meeting so as not to lose critical information discussed during the meeting. Being proactive with your communication is a skill that goes a long way when you telecommute.
- Share: When you are part of a global team, make sure to start the meetings with good news or share something personal. Talking about non-work items will increase team bonding and help you feel more connected to your co-workers. Sharing and listening to others makes us feel part of a community and reduces isolation.
- Co-working: Once in a while, change your location to a coffee shop, a co-working space, or the library depending on your preference. While you are there, take breaks and talk to others and create new connections. All positive experiences add up to enhance the day.
- Network: Find local connections in your city or neighborhood. Set up a walk or a lunch date with them regularly. It can help you stay abreast of the activities happening in the area and talk about non-work related items. Be diligent and add it to your calendar for a frequency that works for you.
- Volunteer: Find a local charity to help or go to the school, library in your area. Volunteering enables you to connect with others in addition to providing other health benefits while giving you the satisfaction of adding value to your community.
- Friends: Nurture and maintain your current network. Irrespective of where you live, you can take your current circle of friends with you, thanks to technology. When you are feeling lonely, it feels incredible to get a funny text or phone call from a friend.
Work with your personality and preferences—do what works for you to manage isolation.
Victoria Vanderbilt is the founder of TelecommutersTalk and is on a mission to address the isolation that comes with remote work, especially for working parents. TelecommutersTalk offers solutions using the 3C approach: Consulting, Connections, and Community.
Thank you again Victoria! Sign-up for our Thriveplaceless course waitlist to learn how to recognize some personal and team challenges as well as implement sustainable solutions to address health and wellness concerns.