Need advice for remote work loneliness

Hi Elphas. I got hired for a remote job nearly three months ago, and so far it's been alright. They have ample training materials, organized workflow processes, leave credits, etc.

However, in my first month I noticed how many people in the past lasted only less than a year; some of the more senior employees have lasted around a year.

The company is quite young (established in 2017) — it's a lifecycle marketing agency. But a lot of employees on Slack that were there around half a year ago aren't anymore. In fact, when I joined, my teammate who was only 5 months in resigned!

I used to wonder why; maybe they're not used to working remotely the way I thought I was.

But what I've come to realize 2 months in is how overwhelming the job can be, and just how little interaction you have with your workmates. Before this job, I used to work remotely — that is, I used to work an office job but when the pandemic began we shifted to remote work and it didn't seem so difficult. Maybe because I already established relationships with the people I worked with IRL?

TL;DR I'm overwhelmed by the workload, and the lack of social interaction. Because beyond conversations about projects and tasks, I don't really have the opportunity to get to know my current workmates and it feels really overwhelming. I get burnt out way more easily.

Thing is, I don't think quitting is the right thing to do, because where I'm from the pandemic is still really bad, so I'll have to deal with working remotely for some time. But it feels really lonely.

Any advice on how to deal with this?

jacquelinedelibes's profile thumbnail
@Nedra43, what's occurring to me is a potentially brave move you might make. How would you feel about suggesting a regular social get-together on Zoom where it's not about work? Early on in the pandemic, I got invited to online Karaoke, not through a job, through a friend. I didn't know most of the people there, but it was a bonding experience, fun, and an emotional release. We agreed on an environment that was supportive, not about singing "well" and not snarky. Or what if another Zoom meeting was more like a cocktail party and every 15 minutes, shuffle people into different breakout rooms so you're having one-on-one conversations and also circulating? If you're feeling disconnected, so do others.
Hi Nedra,My company is remote as well, and when I first joined, I reached out to coworkers and got them to put 15 mins on the calendar for a Zoom coffee with me. My thinking was that everyone can find 15 mins somewhere in their workweek, and the amount of time is just long enough for you to get your foot in the door with people without them feeling like it's a big ask for their time.Hope that helps!Isabel
sadafr's profile thumbnail
Get the random coffee plug-in for slack (or donught) and also sign-up to something like Lunch Club so you can meet people outside of work in your work day.
jaschana's profile thumbnail
Completely agree with the comments above. I've noticed, sometimes an organisation can get stuck in its ways and there's probably many others (or even new members) who feel the same way. It can take one person stepping out of their comfort zone to ask for an informal catch up / coffee / fun event to start a new trend :) If it feels uncomfortable at first, maybe spot the person that you interact with the most for work purposes (it might not seem like a lot but even an odd email here or there or someone that recognises your name) and say you'd like to understand their role / the business a little more so a coffee catch up might be nice. That gives you a 'reason' to meet, and hopefully opens up more opportunities to get to know others too.
Belle's profile thumbnail
I'm so sorry you're having a hard time! I started my current job during full lockdown last year and I really struggled as well. I found that I'd just message people, in my team to begin with, to just chit chat and get to know them. Having calls can help to make the conversation more natural as well.It's not easy though, especially if you're shy. I know a lot of my team who started after me have struggled with the same issue, so I put a lot of effort into making sure my team have calls just to talk, not about work.I have found that the lack of in person interactions has stopped me from bonding with people as well as I normally would have, and I do find that I don't really trust people very much.I hope you're able to feel more comfortable at work and are able to socialise with people more!
When I feel lonely, I like to sometimes co-work online with my friends or coworkers. We just kind of open up a zoom and do work with videos on. I've also loved using for social gatherings. It's a great online gettogether place where there's games embedded that you can set up and customize and it definitely mimics more of real life!
amrosnik's profile thumbnail
I love! Great suggestion.
laurawasley's profile thumbnail
Working from home is really difficult at the best of times, let alone in a pandemic where there hasn't been room to socialise outside of work either! I'm so sorry to hear you feel lonely :( Chances are, other members of your team at the moment are feeling the same. So, maybe it would be an idea to add them all into a group-chat, and video call once a week (maybe on a Friday afternoon to round off the week) to talk about all things non-work related! It will definitely raise the spirits in the group collectively, benefit you and give you a new lease of life within the company. It can be really isolating working from home, so perhaps get out outside of work as much as you can to see family, friends, go on a walk, sit in a café that sort of thing now we're able to. If you don't get to socialise much inside of work, do as much as you can outside of it.
amrosnik's profile thumbnail
I joined a new company remotely earlier this year and had a very similar experience (and, mostly, still do). I'd vouch for what everyone else has suggested -- some form of online coffee chats or activities. But I also recognize how hard it is to be the new person who also is trying to change something. Maybe in a social channel on Slack, poll people for interest in an online get-together? if people upvote it, see if any of them would be interested in helping organize/figure out what to do. Or simply try coffee chats with those people. I tried advocating for some get-togethers but everyone was so thirsty for the going back to the office that the idea fizzled out. I may revisit the topic now that we are back to remote indefinitely with the Delta variant. Also: people may not be social because the work is overwhelming and they're just trying to get their work done to stay afloat. That's how it is with some teams at my company; the more social ones tend to be folks who aren't constantly slammed with work. In that case, try telling jokes or lightening the mood in meetings and see if anyone perks up...?