Strategies to Overcome Loneliness in the Workplace
As human beings, we have an innate desire to connect with others and form meaningful relationships. This is particularly true in the workplace, where we spend a significant portion of our time. However, many people find themselves working in isolation and feeling lonely, which can have a negative impact on their mental health, job satisfaction, and performance.
While remote work has its benefits, such as increased flexibility and reduced commuting time, it can also lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection. This feeling of isolation is particularly prevalent among employees and professionals who work alone as single practitioners. In fact, according to a Gallup survey conducted in 2020, 25% of remote workers reported feeling lonely often or always. Additionally, even for those who work in a traditional office setting, it can be difficult to form meaningful connections with coworkers.
The good news is that there are several ways to build connections and foster a sense of community. Here are three strategies to build meaningful connections:
1. Join and Engage in Professional Organizations
Professional organizations are a great way to connect with others in your field and stay up-to-date on industry news and trends. Many organizations offer networking events, conferences, and online forums where members can connect and share ideas. By joining and actively participating in a professional organization, you can build relationships with others who share your interests and goals.
If you are a coach or facilitator who works with teams, The Better Teams Community - FORWARD, is an excellent organization to join. FORWARD is a close-knit, global community of generous and senior-level team building professionals who want to learn, practice, and network together.
2. Start A Mastermind Group
A Mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring concept where a small group of individuals with similar goals and interests meet regularly to share knowledge, expertise, and insights on various topics related to their work or industry. Click here for step-by-step instructions for how to set up a Mastermind.
3. Volunteer for Community Service
Volunteering for community service can provide you with a sense of purpose and help you connect with your community. Consider volunteering both within and beyond your organization. You can choose a place that utilizes your professional skills or provides an opportunity to explore something new. For example, I enjoy volunteering with women who are restarting in the business world after going through challenging situations and this uses my professional skills. I also volunteer multiple times a week at a local animal sanctuary for farm animals, which is completely outside of my typical skills and knowledge base. By volunteering, you can develop new skills, build new relationships, and make a positive impact on your community.
Developing professional connections that can evolve into personal friendships is crucial not just for your personal well-being but also for your work performance. Feeling connected to others can elevate your mood, enhance your engagement in work, and ultimately improve your professional prospects by expanding your network.
While many people may find themselves working in isolation and feeling lonely, there are many ways we can be intentional about building meaningful relationships with others. Joining and participating in professional organizations, creating a Mastermind group, or volunteering are all personally and professionally fulfilling options. These activities can foster meaningful relationships and offer an avenue for connecting with others.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, Team Consultant Academy, and FORWARD, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.