How to tackle loneliness in a remote work setting

Almost one in four remote workers are struggling with loneliness
The lasting impacts of COVID-19 can be seen across the world. One of the changes brought on by the pandemic is new working environments.  
Remote and hybrid work models are preferred by the majority of workers, especially those who appreciate the pros such as flexibility, work-life balance, more time with family and less time spent commuting. 
However, online work environments aren’t perfect — they also have cons such as contributing to a growing number of employees feeling lonely and disconnected.  
A recent study found 24% of remote workers were struggling with loneliness, and 52% felt less connected to their co-workers. Remote workers find it challenging to make friends with colleagues or have impromptu hallway conversations since they are not working in an in-person environment. 
“The online work environment is great, but it is different than connecting in-person. People want to be heard and seen. They want to feel connected to other humans.” 
- Daniel Liddle, program manager for the Mental Health Team at Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network
Combating loneliness 
For some remote employees, loneliness negatively impacts their physical and mental health. Here are a few things you can do to combat feelings of loneliness: 
  • Connect with someone at least once a week — Plan and schedule time to connect with family, friends and colleagues, or pick up a hobby that encourages you to connect with people face-to-face. 
  • Get outdoors — Nature can have a positive effect on mental and physical health.
  • Set a routine — A routine provides people with boundaries and expectations and can give them a sense of purpose.  
Primary Care Networks can help 
PCNs across the province have a variety of free services that can also help with feelings of loneliness of disconnection. 
You can book appointments to meet in-person or online with health professionals such as nurses, counsellors and mental health specialists.  
PCNs also host numerous free workshops in-person or online. The group settings help you learn from others and range from a two-hour Anxiety 101 workshop to a four-week or seven-week Happiness Basics workshop. 
You can also check out the 45-minute “Slice of” videos that highlight different workshops and share some helpful tips. 
Talk to your doctor if you are struggling with your mental health. They can also help you create the right care path for you. 

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