How to cope with occupational loneliness?

A five-step guide to fight loneliness while working at home

By: - June 26, 2020

Cebu City, Philippines–The work from home (WFH) arrangement, or telecommuting, is now a reality for millions of individuals across the globe.

Today, WFH is considered a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID) and is being practiced in the country to contribute to efforts in minimizing the spread of the deadly virus.

About half of the world’s current employment-population consisting of those who work in offices are compelled to work remotely right now until further notice.

However, according to a group of researchers at the Rotterdam School of Management, those who suddenly enter the remote work environment can become lonely.

This is because, according to the researchers, face-to-face work interactions, the opportunities to give, support, and help our colleagues or clients can make our work more meaningful.

With the rise of work from home setup or remote work, more people are feeling lonely due to lack of interaction with workmates. | CDN File Photo

By working remotely for a long period, we lose the vast majority of our spontaneous interactions with others.

We can’t see a friendly smile or a worrying frown and other signals that provide strong socio-emotional values to keep us feeling connected.

Small interactions can make it easier for you to get used to having a social life again even at home.

But how can you counteract with the loneliness, both in yourself, and those with whom you work with?

In this list, we’ve listed five suggestions to consider that can not only make you feel connected but also ease your professional drawbacks of remote work as well.

Check on your workmates or your friends and talk over lunch break to ease your isolation while working from home. | CDN File Photo

1. Make your lunch break an official hour to call or meet someone

According to Psychology Today, other people are important factors that make us happy and make us feel less lonely.

Studies show that your interactions with someone else directly affect your feeling of belongingness that contributes to your happiness.

How about you start treating your lunch break as an opportunity to talk with someone over the phone or meeting them for a quick grocery run and share other ideas on catching up next time.

If you want to hit two birds with one stone, why not invite a workmate for some drive-through coffee or dessert at your favorite spot to discuss matters at work.

Some restaurants and even hotels offer friendly and comfortable environments for business or work meetings.

Get yourself a treat at Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu’s Bread Library! | Photo by Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu

Here in Cebu City, Quest Hotel and Conference Center, a three-star hotel with world-class facilities, has a bread library right in the lobby.

If you’re in a hurry and need to grab something to go, you and your workmate can try their freshly made sandwiches or even take some bake goods home.

The pastry corner has cakes, cookies, and other goodies, perfect for a quick meeting with a workmate or just a most-deserved treat for yourself after braving the work from home setup.

Find other spots of your home where you can work comfortably. | CDN File Photo

2. Switch up your scenery

Remote work’s biggest disadvantage is the monotony of spending 8 to 10 hours indoors, but you can fix this just by simply changing your scenery once in a while.

You can try moving your desk closer to a window to allow you a view of your garden or your quiet neighborhood and even chance upon birds from time to time.

Science suggests that focusing your eyes or looking at something green like trees and plants can help you refresh your vision, minimizing the stress of your eyes after hours of working on a personal computer.

You can even consider working outdoors if you like, set up a table in your garden when the trees or plants create shade for you to sit with your laptop, and enjoy the fresh air.

If you’ve become isolated, simply coming into contact with nature and being able to see animals or people from a distance can distract you from feeling lonely while working remotely.


Allow yourself to have breaks in between work to relax and energize your mind and body. | CDN File Photo

3. Take both short and long breaks to do something you enjoy

Have a break to do something productive outside of work like working out. Exercise has been proved to increase our neuroplasticity, which makes you feel less lonely and more creative.

You can even insert short ten-minute breaks to read a book or watching an educational video. Are you thinking of making that smoothie? Go for it!

Do whatever it takes to distract you at home even just for a few minutes to take your mind off of work and distract you from negative thoughts.

If you’re a team manager, your remote workers may get absorbed with a project for hours without breaks. Having little to no external influences nearby, they may need some escape to relax and recharge.

Encourage your team to use their breaks and rest their eyes and minds from the screen. Studies have shown that you’ll find taking breaks as productivity helper and increase focus in the long run.

READ MORE: An employee’s guide to a successful work from home setup

Working from home can be exciting when you exchange ideas and share progress of tasks with your team. | CDN File Photo

4. Schedule remote co-working sessions for you and your team

One common myth about telecommuting at home is that you can’t work from home with coworkers! But thanks to technology, a video call conference is just one click away.

Get your team together on an online video conference and agree on rules on how you can work “together” and make remote work less lonely.

Share results and accomplishments and set timers on when to go on mute and even have coffee all at the same time.

And while you discuss and share ideas, you can even have the same snacks. This is how.

Remember that some restaurants and hotels in the city are ready to ease your work from home setup, why not order the same snacks?

Level-up your meetings with your team and satisfy your cravings with Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu’s Meetings-to-Go boxes! | Photo by Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu

Order and book Quest Hotel and Conference Center’s Meetings-to-Go before your delivery date. Unbox delectable moments in the convenience of your workspace with the hotel’s savory and sweet snack selection.

They have packages ready for you and even offer free delivery for a minimum order of just four boxes! From sandwiches to classic Filipino merianda favorites, there’s nothing like quality food to energize your team while working from home!

Try your best to lighten up on a work day and encourage yourself to finish tasks on time. | CDN File Photo

5. Lighten up!

We are forced to face a very stressful time of staying home more than going out. Thus, the work from home setup seems to be a long reality we have to overcome.

With recent news and headlines, these can undesirably cause emails and other tasks as a back burner.

But the more you convince yourself and the more effort you put into communicating and expressing with your family or friends, the more you can help avoid feelings of isolation, which can sometimes lead to depression.

For other members of your team, the setup can be bearable, but others can also experience personal pain and health costs in the first months.

One thing to always give much consideration is including as much online face-to-face interaction to solve remote work pitfalls especially to those individuals who live alone and might feel more isolated.

Keeping each other’s spirits up and being each other’s cheerleaders can minimize stress and the difficulty of working from home.

If you want to simply energize and encourage yourself, why not treat yourself with a delicious meal? And by this, we mean sit down and just wait for your mouthwatering food delivery to arrive.

With the rise of online food delivery options, Quest Hotel and Conference Center now also offers GrabFood Delivery!

Enjoy Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu’s a la carte menu! Order using your GrabFood app from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for delivery within Cebu City. | Photo by Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu

Enjoy your favorite flavors from their award-winning Pusô Bistro & Bar in the comforts of your home as you work.

They have an a la carte menu you can check on your GrabFood app and place your order from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for delivery within Cebu City.

Share your thoughts about this list and let us know how you cope up with your work from home setup in the comments section of this video. /bmjo



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