Happiness & Wellbeing

How to Tackle Loneliness in Remote Teams

By wizu | 20 August 2022

Remote work has been a huge benefit for some businesses and employees. However, it’s not the best option for all employees. Some employees become very lonely and feel isolated working from home. What’s more, employee engagement and productivity can also suffer.

Loneliness can be a normal experience for everyone. However, it’s especially challenging for certain employees. And it’s a topic that’s not often spoken of. What’s more, the longer a person feels lonely, the more their mental health begins to suffer.

Each employee’s circumstances are different, and feelings of loneliness and isolation can vary. However, there are some things your company can do to help remote teams tackle loneliness.


How to Tackle Loneliness in Remote Teams

Here are some steps your business can take to tackle the loneliness of your remote teams.


1. Create a Guilt-Free Culture

Start by creating a guilt-free culture where openness and transparency are encouraged. Employees must feel free to express themselves, and there should be no stigma about mental health issues.

A guilt-free culture is one that provides flexibility, allowing employees to take care of their mental health. You can also encourage everyone to take their lunch break outside to enjoy nature and get some fresh air.

It’s also important to create a safe place to share opinions and concerns privately. So, your company may want to consider anonymous wellbeing surveys. These are helpful in gauging employee sentiment and identify areas that need to be improved to create the best company culture possible.


2. Schedule Company-Wide Meetings

When you’re in a physical office altogether, monthly and quarterly company-wide meetings are common. It can be helpful to implement the same meetings for everyone, including remote workers.

Everyone on the team gets together and learns what’s happening outside the business and with other teams. Each department may even learn what others are going through and how this will impact their own department.

In addition, company-wide meetings create a sense of community and help manage feelings of loneliness.


3. Arrange One-on-One Meetings

Another essential in the office is one-on-one meetings with peers. These are great for teams working together remotely, and they can benefit from regular one-on-one meetings with other team members. And this doesn’t have to be within one department. Remember, peer-to-peer meetings also happen at the office. So, these meetings can also take place remotely.

Informal catch-ups help bridge the gaps between team members & departments. They also work to build and maintain connections that are meaningful on a personal level.


4. Organization Virtual Social Events & Team Building Activities

Another way to relieve the loneliness of remote teams is through the organization of virtual social events & team-building activities. Unfortunately, some people believe these must be boring and useless to hold virtually. But that doesn’t have to be the case!

There are many activities teams can do online together. It’s a great opportunity to learn something new or even have a laugh together. You can try everything from crafts, cooking, and quizzes to cocktail masterclasses and more.

Virtual team social events are also a great way to honour special occasions on the calendar. It’s even possible to hold a virtual holiday party! And if remote teams are in different countries, why not take advantage of this. It’s a great way to learn about the culture of other places.


5. Adopt a Buddy System

When you onboard a new employee at the office, do you offer a mentor to help break the ice? The same can be done virtually by creating a buddy system. The buddy system becomes a support network for new colleagues, but it can also be used for current employees.

The goal here is to provide newcomers or current employees with a regular point of contact. For new employees, this can be the person they ask questions about the company, their job, and more. And for current employees, the buddy system can be a great way to talk about life in general, issues with their work, or that they’re feeling lonely.

A buddy system can be a positive experience for newcomers and existing employees.


6. Offer Mental Health Support

Offering a mental health support program is another way to help employees receive the assistance they need. It can be helpful to give employees the opportunity to share their thoughts and input through surveys, one-to-ones, and more.

There’s no question that physical and mental health are tied. So, it’s beneficial to offer gym memberships, yoga classes, and more, along with subscriptions to mental health apps, such as   and others.

A company may also want to consider a private healthcare plan, which includes mental health services.


7. Communication Apps to Build Connections

Your business may also want to consider using communication apps not only to work and collaborate. With an app such as Slack, it’s possible to create dedicated channels that allow teams to share mutual interests, arrange meet-ups, and more.

It’s even possible to create a Slack channel for group tea or coffee time. These small interactions are essential when it comes to relieving loneliness. Not only do these social connections create a sense of community, but they can also offer relief when someone’s having a bad day.


8. Don’t Forget Recognition

Another common problem for remote employees is that they are often “forgotten” when it comes to making important decisions or for advancement opportunities. Remote teams feel very excluded and left out when decisions are made without them.

Including remote employees in the decision-making process makes them feel more included and gives them the opportunity to share their opinions.

In addition, recognition of each employee’s contribution is also beneficial. This means recognizing both on-site and remote employees for their excellent efforts.

If you’re already using a communication app such as Slack, it’s easy to create channels dedicated to recognizing all employees. It’s important to let team members know they’re appreciated.


Summing It Up

All employees can benefit from increased recognition of mental health issues in the workplace. It’s essential to ensure all employees feel included in the company, including those working remotely.

With today’s technology, it’s possible to ensure remote employees are included and recognized. There’s no reason they need to feel alone when working from home.


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