According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of workers in the UK who work remotely has increased by approximately 250,000 over the past ten years, due to developments in technology and the release of applications such as zoom and G Suite.
However, due to the dissolution of office environments, it can be more difficult for employees to connect and collaborate effectively, and social isolation has become a real issue. Staying connected with others as a remote worker has a number of benefits, including:
Maintaining relationships with co-workers
Working in an office together allows staff members to bond and form important friendships, but working remotely can make it difficult for coworkers to form lasting connections. Keeping in contact with coworkers via video chat and instant messaging apps can help you to develop friendships with your fellow employees and make your working day more enjoyable.
Reducing feelings of isolation
One of the most prevalent issues that remote workers face is dealing with feelings of isolation. It's easy for staff to feel like they are an important part of the company as a whole when they come into work every day and work on projects with other employees, but working from home can make it difficult for staff to feel directly involved in company activities. This can lower morale and have a detrimental effect on employee wellbeing, so it's important to keep in regular contact with your team and ensure that you are kept in the loop with the rest of the business so that you feel like you're part of a team. It's also important to make sure you set boundaries, so you can separate home life from work life - you can read more about this here - Setting boundaries while remote working.
It's easy to forget about how much collaboration happens in an office, but when you're working in the same vicinity as your colleagues, it's common for staff to engage in off-the-cuff conversations about upcoming projects or spontaneously start sharing ideas with each other. Recent studies show that 17% of remote workers believe that working remotely does not allow normal communication and collaboration between workers. When you're working from home, it's important to go out of your way to maintain a constant stream of communication with your colleagues so that you can discuss tasks and collaborate effectively to motivate each other and boost your productivity.
Research shows that remote working is only set to increase, with 42% of employees claiming that they plan to work from home more often within the next 5 years. With new technology emerging every day to improve communication, this figure is expected to rise even further. In order to stop social isolation becoming a major issue, we can look to help ourselves with some simple steps, helping our own wellbeing.