If you feel lonely at work, you’re not alone. It may be the natural result of technology that reduces face to face interactions and increases the number of remote employees.
It’s a subject that’s receiving more attention lately. Research suggests that loneliness affects the whole company as well as the individual employee. In addition to making you feel blue, it lowers your productivity and creates stress for the rest of your team.
Keep in mind that loneliness is different from being alone. It has more to do with working conditions that don’t fulfill your desire for connection and companionship
Researchers have found other interesting complications too. Loneliness is situational, so you may only experience it at the office. Depending on individual personalities, the same conditions could be ideal for one employee and isolating for another.
Whatever the situation, there are ways to deal with loneliness at work. Try these suggestions for encouraging a greater sense of connection for yourself and your coworkers.
The sooner you act, the easier it is to reverse the effects of loneliness. Otherwise, your performance may decline, and coworkers may find it more difficult to approach you.
Consider these ideas:
- Join in. Relationships are built on frequent interactions. Look for opportunities to spend more time with your colleagues. Sign up for a group project or the office softball league.
- Communicate offline. Think before pressing the send button. Is this something you can discuss over the phone or with a quick visit to someone’s office?
- Pay attention. Just listening to your coworkers and taking an interest in their lives can make a big difference. Show that you care about their opinions and wellbeing.
- Help out. Be generous with your time and talents. Train other employees and pitch in when they look overloaded.
- Get personal. If you’re comfortable sharing private details at work, it can create more intimacy. Display family photos on your desk and talk about your weekend plans.
- Bring candy. Simple gestures count too. Bake a batch of cookies or add to the supply of leftover Halloween candy. Send birthday cards or pass along books you’ve read and enjoyed.
- Nourish yourself. It’s easier to be popular when you’re taking care of yourself. Eat a balanced diet, work out, and sleep well.
- Change jobs. There may be times when you need to accept that your current workplace isn’t a good fit for you. If you still feel isolated after making a sincere effort, use your experience to guide you in searching for a new position.
Loneliness can spread through any industry and level of a company. Stay safe by working with your employer to create a friendlier environment for everybody.
Try these techniques:
- Change your onboarding. New employees can feel a little forlorn when they’re surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Help them to fit in by offering mentors and team activities.
- Socialize more. Office parties and happy hours may backfire if they make lonely employees feel more awkward. However, socializing is effective when accompanied by adequate support and an inclusive atmosphere.
- Lunch together. Take advantage of break rooms and lunch hours. Encourage employees to go out to eat together and create a communal table for those who stay in.
- Recognize and reward. How does your company thank employees for their efforts and accomplishments? Support ideas for employee competitions and awards and offer your own proposals.
Workplace relationships play a major role in your job satisfaction and performance. Protect your happiness and your career by learning how to deal with loneliness at work.