In the new reality we’re working in, more and more employees are working from home. This comes with many advantages in the form of reduced costs for everyone.
However, there are also downsides; one of the biggest downsides for people working remotely is the lack of structured social interactions. Even those of us who thrive on having a lot of alone time can often end up missing at least a little interpersonal interaction after a while.
This loneliness can have impacts on employees and employers. Loneliness can also cause secondary problems, like increased anxiety, decreased productivity, and a slow drop-off in social skills. Over time, feeling isolated can lead to stress, which sometimes leads to ineffective coping mechanisms, like comfort eating and more.
Thankfully, there are a lot of steps employers can take to combat loneliness for remote employees. Employers can:
- Both encourage and actively create opportunities for coworkers to connect. Encourage employees to set recurring meetings to check in with one another.
- Set up plenty of check-in times to talk with employees and reassure them they’re being seen and are an important part of the team.
- Communicate even more often than before. Communicate things in multiple ways to ensure everyone gets the information.
- If not already in place, provide software options for greater connection, like videoconferencing tools and instant-messaging tools. (Beware that not all options are created equally in terms of security and privacy; review options before jumping in.)
- If necessary, help provide upgraded hardware and connectivity improvements for employees to be able to take advantage of these technologies. (Some computers are not fast enough to handle conference calls with multiple simultaneous videos, for example. Another example may be if someone’s home Internet connection could be upgraded by the employer to allow better connectivity.)
- Occasionally review meeting participants to ensure employees aren’t being inadvertently left off, which can lead to frustrations, even if not intentional. Ensure everyone appropriate is involved, especially with strategic initiatives.
- Ensure employee development opportunities don’t dry up just because employees aren’t on-site. Pivot opportunities to new methods if needed.
- Ensure work processes and tools are accessible for remote employees without inordinate hurdles. This allows employees to be productive and feel less isolated if they can continue to perform their core functions. Read more here…
Source: HR Daily Advisor