8 ways to combat loneliness when working from home
2nd June 2023
Homeworking has been a big hit for many, with benefits including waving goodbye to tedious and expensive commutes or the pleasure of spending more time with family – but there are downsides too.
People transplanted from the hubbub of a busy office environment to the silence of a spare bedroom or other domestic setting are finding the social aspect of their job has all but disappeared, and some can find themselves struggling with loneliness.
They’re fighting isolation while loneliness across the UK continues to increase since it grew during the pandemic. According to the Office for National Statistics, 5% of Brits reported feeling lonely often or always in April and May 2020, which had risen to 8% from March to April 2023.
Remote working can mean you’re more productive, but there’s no replacement for an in-the-flesh chat with colleagues to get help, bounce ideas off or even swap notes on the latest hit TV reality show.
The result is that some people now have a love/hate relationship with remote working – they love it because they have fewer distractions and no office politics. However, they also hate it as they miss other people’s company and feel disconnected.
That said, remote work doesn’t necessarily mean it prevents you from having a healthy social life. On the contrary, it should allow you to try alternative workspaces, meet new friends, strengthen existing relationships and pursue new hobbies.
So, use the technology available to us all, find activities you enjoy and get involved in your community. Here are some ideas to help:
1. Make time to phone a friend
It may not be in the flesh, but phoning a friend can be an absolute lifeline if you need to let off steam, ask for advice, or just hear another human voice.
Try to ensure you have time to have a proper conversation, listen to what the other person has to say, offload your news and problems, and take the opportunity to arrange a social meeting to follow up on your chat.
2. Go the extra mile to plan social events
Removed from an office environment, where plans for after-work social events often just happen organically, you must make an extra effort to find opportunities to get together with people. Use email, text, WhatsApp and all the other technology to encourage people from work – and outside work – to socialise.
3. Get outside
Take advantage of being a homeworker by getting outside during the daytime. Meet up with someone for a coffee, join a friend in taking their dog to the park during your lunch hour or arrange to walk with someone to the local shops. Your ideal outside break could be any number of things but find what charges your batteries and makes you feel good.
4. Transition to four days a week
If your situation allows it, leaving one day to do something wholly non-work-related and with others could be the answer. Examples include volunteer work or going to the gym, so long as it involves social interaction.
5. Find a tribe
Remind yourself of your favourite interests and pastimes and find like-minded people online. Join Facebook groups or chat online on forums. You might also join a local networking group, which will help to put you in contact with other homeworkers and people running their businesses. To find the right group for you, talk to friends and colleagues and browse networking sites online.
6. Consider getting a dog
Dogs provide companionship and relieve stress when you’re working alone. Since it’s healthy for dogs to follow a strict schedule, walking them forces you to take regular breaks and playtime. The RSPCA has an excellent guide to dog care.
7. Ask your company for options
Many companies added various benefits during the pandemic to help employees improve their mental wellbeing. So, take another look at your employee handbook, contact HR or talk to your boss to find out if any initiatives will help you tackle loneliness issues.
And leaving the best to last…
8. Coworking spaces
Recreating a new office-type environment is another approach, but relocating with your laptop to a coffee shop can be too noisy. In addition, they present security issues around internet connectivity and people looking over your shoulder. Setting up at a library can be too quiet.
Instead, the many attractions of coworking at spaces like those provided by Landmark include better opportunities for social interaction, networking with like-minded professionals and workspaces that foster collaborative productivity. Landmark’s staff also offer excellent on-site customer service.
Keysha Davis is a freelance journalist who’s recently started using a coworking space. She says: “It has been a game-changer. Not only has it cured the loneliness of working in solitude, but it’s also made me more productive and provided me with clear work/home life boundaries. 100 recommend.”
Landmark’s Co-working spaces offer unlimited access to professional shared office facilities at 17 locations in central London and seven further regional locations in Bristol, Manchester (Chancery Place and Spinningfields), Birmingham (Snow Hill and Brindley Place), Milton Keynes and Reading.
We have carefully designated space at each location: besides the meeting zones, you can enjoy a coffee in our social zone, work in groups in the collaboration zone, take a video call in our phone booths or work privately in our quiet zone. For pricing details, go to our Club Space page.