When lockdown hit in March working from home, migrating all our meetings to teams and wearing loungewear 24/7 was a novelty. Now, six months down the line, it’s getting a bit lonely.
I started my new job at the end of January and had 7 weeks in the office before the pandemic hit. I’d just begun to get used to what I was doing and figuring out who does what and then we left the office.
Initially I felt awful pestering people via email for advice and virtual training for different aspects of my job, especially as I had no marketing experience.
I couldn’t really put my finger on the problem until I moved this weekend. It isn’t that the work is challenging or that I’m confused, I’m just a bit lonely.
I’ve had the benefit of growing my side hustles during lockdown, which has been brilliant and fulfilling, but I want to be fulfilled in the 9-5 as well. So, it was time to shake things up.
Realistically I may not have a job in the next 6 months, I don’t think many people can say they will for certain, which is even more incentive to get the most out of what I’m doing.
The problem is that most people are simply obliged to talk to me due to the nature of working together, but I don’t get to the chance to consolidate these friendships in person. I think that has definitely impacted my wellbeing at different points throughout lockdown.
I had a conversation about it in May time and again this week with different colleagues and I think it dawned on me that I was feeling lonely.
Generally, I’m not a lonely person. I have great friends and a huge family, so in fact it’s quite the opposite. But at work, the loneliness creeps in and the work feels rather unengaging as a result.
Thankfully I’m not alone. Totaljobs found that almost half of UK workers (46%) have felt lonely while working from home, with younger workers and women (18-38) most affected. Astonishingly, 74% of young workers said they struggled with the social isolation of remote working.
So what can you do when you feel lonely wfh?
Listen to Music or a Podcast
I’m a big believer that music can transform your mood and ultimately your day, so browse through playlists and find one you love. I found a 2000’s playlist on iTunes last week. Have I listened to it ever since? Yes, yes I have. Otherwise get a cheeky podcast on in the background.
Virtual Coffee Breaks
If similar to me, you were quite new to your company pre-lockdown then this can feel quite daunting, but book in virtual catch ups with your team or pals at work regularly.
I’ve spoken to Emma, my pal & work colleague, pretty much every week since April/May and I saw her in real life this week. We both said it was great that we’d stayed in touch regularly as it really brings you out of your own head and work for a little while.
Hot desk your home
I cannot express how different my working week has felt in my new flat! Being in a new space is great to combat the dullness involved in wfh. So it’s time to hot desk your house once again (wrote about that here) and move to your dining table or a new corner of your flat (if you can) to mix things up.
Whether it’s round the flat, on your balcony or outside, walking solves pretty much anything in my experience.
The best way to combat loneliness will always be to be with people that make you feel like you. That get you. It could be through a virtual or a physical socially distanced meet up, chat to them about it and catch up, like good old times when that was allowed.
Speak to your Manager
An obvious but great starting point. Your manager is literally employed to ensure that you have work, can cope and are developing as a person and for the team. Tell them how you’re feeling, come up with solutions or ask for guidance.
Mix up your projects
Having several projects or tasks on the go can sometimes feel as though it’s a bad thing, as you might worry you’ll take on too much. But personally, I love having more than one project on the go so I can bounce between things when I get stuck or bored, as generally the problem isn’t that difficult to solve you’ve just looked at it for too long.
Thinking and creating time is vital to enjoying your job. Productivity is key of course, but take time to innovate or approach something differently as then your task will immediately be more interesting as you’ve done it differently to how you normally would.
Invest in a side hustle
You know I love a side hustle, but if you aren’t fulfilled at work do it in your free time. I will never find a job creative enough for me at this point in time, so I do it outside of work and that works super well for me. Read more about how to successfully run a side hustle alongside a full-time job here.
Have you felt lonely when working from home?