In Buffer’s 2018 survey, 22% of surveyed remote workers said that loneliness was a top struggle, tying for first place alongside communication and collaboration issues. This is worrying on a couple of levels.
In an age where we are less likely to know our neighbors, workplace friendships have an increasingly important place in our social lives. The coworker you chat with today can become your movie buddy tomorrow. According to the folks at Gallup, having a best friend at work can also lead to better business performance, both in terms of profit and fewer safety incidents. Lonely workers, therefore, can miss out on a chance to feel fully engaged and to work at their full potential.
It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
Working remotely doesn’t have to lead to loneliness. There are many remote workers who make work friends, and enjoy a sense of camaraderie with people whom they never meet in person. They may occasionally feel isolated, but they have a set of steps they follow to bring more human connection into their lives. Those steps vary, depending on work configuration and personality. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. If we share what works for us, then that may help someone else to think of a strategy that will work for them. Anything that can help someone to feel less isolated in their office of one is a good thing.
How You Can Help
And this is where you come in. I am conducting research on how remote workers make work friends. Can you spare five minutes to fill out this survey? Once I’ve compiled the data I will write up an article with a toolkit of resources for making friends at work, and share it. Together we can help remote workers feel less isolated.
2 thoughts on “Loneliness and the Remote Worker”
I just took the survey. Hope it helps. Interesting article. I consider some people I regularly interact with online as my friends, even though I’ll probably never meet them. It’s a different kind of friendship. We’re not going to the cinema together, but we can discuss a film we’ve both seen, or even watch it at the same time online…
Thanks! And I agree with you—I have online friends that I will never meet in person, but they are still my friends.
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