Remote IT jobs certainly have their advantages and disadvantages, with some of the most common disadvantages being feeling isolated and lonely which in turn can lead to decreased mental wellbeing, lack of productivity, and poor results at work.
There are many benefits to remote IT jobs, but sometimes when loneliness hits it can take a real toll on your mental health. It is important to remember that there are simple steps you can take to help tackle this feeling. It is up to both the employers and employees to work together to strengthen communication between teams to help build relationships.
We have put together five tips on how to tackle loneliness in a remote IT job:
1. Use your breaks wisely
When you’re in the office you usually spend your breaks making a coffee and chatting to colleagues. Whereas working in a remote IT job at home you don’t have that interaction. Instead, you can use that time to take a quick walk outside, where you might interact with neighbours, or bump into someone you know. You can also schedule a call with friends or family just to check in on them, or do some personal errands that involve interaction such as booking a doctor’s appointment or the dentist.
2. Make plans after work
If you find yourself not having much interaction with your colleagues during the day, make sure you arrange to see friends or family after work hours. Some people only make plans at the weekends, however, making plans before then will help break up the week. Weekday plans will also force you to shut down your computer after work hours, preventing you from becoming overworked or burnt out.
3. Find a different place to work outside of your house
Rather than being stuck in your house all week, think about where else you can spend the day productively. Maybe your company has provided a co-working space where you can arrange one day a week to meet up with team members. Or if you have a local coffee shop with a comfortable working environment, set up your laptop for a day there. Whilst you might not know anyone at a coffee shop, you are still out in public and involving yourself in human interactions throughout the day, all of which can help towards combating loneliness.
4. Reach out to co-workers
A lot of companies now use an instant messaging service as well as emails, you may use that system socialise with your teammates. Instant messaging is a great method to stay in touch with your co-workers in a low-effort approach.
You can also use video conferencing tools to schedule meetings with colleagues. It’s often too easy to simply communicate with colleagues via messages, however, if you are trying to resolve an issue, messages can cause frustration if you are unable to get your point across. Scheduling video calls with your team will help solve problems quicker. It will help you feel less misunderstood if you can see or even hear a team member's voice. Video calls will also save you time by not having to write long explanations within emails.
5. Prioritise self-care
When we talk about being lonely, we think it’s because we need to connect with others. Sometimes speaking with friends and family does help, however, loneliness has a lot to do with our mental health. Doing self-care activities will help with your mental well-being in the long run. Whether it’s doing some exercise, getting enough sleep, or taking time for your hobbies such as reading a new book or cooking a new recipe.
Whilst remote IT jobs definitely have their many perks, loneliness can definitely have a big impact on your life. But working alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. It’s important to take the initiative and follow the steps mentioned above, that way you can make the most of your remote IT job.