A big part of work is about being human and needing social connection. When working remotely, it’s easy to feel the effects of social isolation and a lack of different interactions in your daily routines. It’s important to combat the isolating effects by being intentional. Here are tips to stay connected beyond task-oriented work.
Designate a social channel
Not every interaction with a co-worker needs to have an explicit work function. The watercooler effect has an important place for bringing people together. But in a digital world, that needs to be fostered by creating a place where it’s permissible to open up, share photos of pets or simply blow off steam. And the research backs up why this is important.
Stick to a quitting time
Working all the time can make anyone feel disconnected from the larger web of social frameworks. Setting and maintaining a time to stop work for the day will allow you to reconnect with family, get in touch with friends or even take a walk and get a breath of fresh air.
Seek out a (remote) mentor
For people struggling to adapt, there’s no reason to go it alone. Assigning or seeking out mentors can prevent someone from spiraling into problems. Change and working remotely is a difficult process for anyone but guidance can ease the process.
Grow your network
Socializing doesn’t just take place with coworkers. Your extended network of professional connections also provide valuable social contact, and you can continue to build that web through digital platforms. There are digital options to spread your message, including blogging, vlogging, and podcasting. Tools like Anchor.fm now make it possible to start a podcast with little equipment or training, using equipment as basic as your phone.
Take an actual lunch
When you’re in the office, you may take a hurried lunch by yourself at your desk. At home, you have the luxury of making a real meal in your kitchen and sitting down at your dining room table. Use this time. Make a real lunch and connect with people either at home or through an online chat.
These measures are important not only personally, but also professionally. According to a study published in Harvard Business Review, 35% of the variation in a team’s performance can be accounted for simply by the number of exchanges among team members, and the “right” number of exchanges in a team is as many as dozens per working hour. So go ahead, indulge in social conversations –– and feel and perform better.