10 tips to make sure your remote workers don’t feel isolated.
What defines the “workplace” has evolved dramatically in the past few years. Not only have our jobs changed, but where, when, and how we work have all become completely fluid. An ever-increasing number of employees are now allowed to work from home, cafes, co-working spaces, and even while travelling as organizations strive to find new ways to improve the employee experience.
Similarly, companies like Uber, AirBnB, and Foodora have made it possible for people to earn extra income as their schedule allows. This has given rise to a new category of workers who are neither employees nor contractors, but fall somewhere in between.
While these trends are celebrated for granting people the flexibility to achieve better work-life balance, one side-effect is slowly becoming an epidemic: loneliness.
A nationwide Cigna survey found that half of Americans feel lonely. Of the 20 000 adults polled, 56% said the people they associate with “are not necessarily with them.” Roughly 40% reported feeling a “lack [of] companionship,” that their “relationships aren’t meaningful,” and that they feel “isolated from others.” Loneliness in and of itself is awful, but it also puts us at increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
These are staggering statistics. In a world that is more connected than ever, we seem to be drifting further away from each other. This is prevalent in workplaces where face-to-face meetings have been replaced with emails, and phone calls have been replaced with instant messages.
So what can you do to help your employees (especially remote workers) feel more connected? Here are some ideas:
- Reach out periodically to chat with staff members about anything except work.
- Send them cards and/or small gifts to celebrate milestones like birthdays and work anniversaries.
- Give them the autonomy to structure their own work hours so they can incorporate social activities into their routine.
- Offer perks that involve some sort of activity, such as event tickets or discounted memberships.
- Depending on the size of your team, try to have everyone speak at least once during every meeting.
- Encourage employees who live near each other to meet up.
- Create a casual chat room where all employees can post messages about fun miscellaneous topics. (This can be done through Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.)
- Organize a company “reunion” and fly everyone into the same city for a few days.
- Check-in regularly with employees to make sure they feel supported and have the resources they need to learn and grow.
- Make sure your benefits package includes high quality mental health resources.
LifeSpeak is here for your remote workers
We are no strangers to supporting large, disperse teams. Many of our clients have tens of thousands of employees, and we make sure each one of them has 24/7/365 access to the best wellness resources. Our digital employee well-being platform contains videos, podcasts, and tipsheets on topics ranging from stress, anxiety, and depression to nutrition, fitness, parenting, professional development, and so much more. Book a free demo today to learn how we can help your team thrive, no matter where they are.