9 Insights after a year efforts to fight Loneliness when working from home

https://www.snetconnect.com/why-remote-work-is-here-to-stay/

Is loneliness a real problem?

Science has a quite certain answer here:

https://www.nextavenue.org/loneliness-trigger-health-problems/

Our Insights to fight remote Loneliness

In the last year, Toughlex and XITASO tried some ideas to fight loneliness at home. Some worked better than others, some are better for extroverts or introverts. Here are our top ideas, ranked by how easy they are to implement:

One-on-One Lunches

Whatever your organization’s style is, every employee should have a person they feel close to: Be it a team leader, a coach, a mentor or something similar. When working remotely, we all tend to fall in a kind of tunnel, where work is only cut by meetings, leaving little room for genuine direct interactions.

To fight loneliness, we noticed how essential one-on-one communication is.

Group calls or events are nice, but there is something special in an open discussion between two people that care about each other. After a year, it has become apparent how efficient the development of a mentor-mentee or employee-leader bond is. It helps to combat loneliness in different ways, one of which being a change in everyone’s routine.

Online Daily Coffee Breaks

This idea is probably the first that comes to mind addressing the loneliness issue: a formal opportunity for informal exchange. We tried to implement it and we have varying results — for some it works well, others stopped joining eventually. We debate what the reason could be: maybe that such an approach is not quite organic and probably there are people who don’t feel like overcoming this obstacle.

Office Simulator

To foster human interactions within a team, we experimented with a lot of things … but at the end, a lot of people lacked the feeling of someone being simply there. Our so-called Office Simulator helped us to, well, simulate being in the office with our team.

Unser (Home-)Office-Simulator > XITASO

Shorten Your Meetings To Allow Small Talks

Small and corridor talks are an important way for information to circulate and for personal interaction. In the office, they usually took place before or after meetings or workshops, but since we moved online, one call seems to follow the other in an unending stream. In an attempt to cut this stream and build in breaks, we recommend to move down the base duration of a meeting (from 60 to 55 minutes, for instance).

Select “Shorten appointments and meetings” :)

Spam Channel

Every organization has a spam channel whether you know it or not 😁

Daily / Weekly Questions

This practice seems to pass the test of time. It is an opportunity for everyone to interact, beyond teams and projects boundaries.

  1. Every team member asks a simple question in turns — every day or every week.
  2. Other team members answer the question. Answers often lead to discussions
XITASO Weekly Quiz Example

All Hands Meeting

We noticed quite quickly that to combat loneliness was not only to multiply the interactions, but also to make the interactions more interesting, more impactful. To this end, the feeling of “we” is as important as the feeling of “me”.

Games Nights

You can try as hard as you can, but chats and small interactions cannot replace funny, competitive and exciting gaming experiences. This activity requires preparation and commitment, but as a result it can be extremely rewarding.

Source: Somewhere from the Internet :)

Team Building Events

Team buildings can happen online too! Probably every company has its own practice on how to run team buildings properly and it is possible that one practices are more easily transferable to online than others. Anyway it is worth trying as there are many options to choose from, here is what we already tried:

  • Remote Escape rooms
    The only difference from usual escape rooms is that instead of you and your colleagues being in the room yourself, you connect to a video call and there is a host who is in the room and acts on your behalf. It doesn’t sound too exciting but people seemed to like it.
  • Online Puzzle game
    This is a competitive team puzzle game designed for online use. Participants use the internet to solve miscellaneous problems, look for certain places on Google maps, record themselves doing challenges, etc. Super fun, cooperative and competitive at the same time.
  • Role Playing games
    They come in many different variations. The one we attended went like this: there was a host who told a story and we needed to act according to our roles. The activity included challenges, puzzles, bonding games. It wasn’t the most exciting activity, but contributed to build the team very well.
  • Quizzes
    We had a quiz session run by a famous quiz host. Basically it sums up to this: the host presented a question and some possible answers. Each team had time to discuss and pick the answer they think was the best. But as there was a very limited amount of time to submit every answer to avoid cheating, interactions among group members were quite shallow. It is fun if you are into quizzes. If you would like to engage more people you can create a quiz creation website, like Kahoot, with questions related to your company. Then most interactions happen between the questions.
  • Artist Performances
    There are so many different options to pick from. We had a magician performance! This was the most professional online performance we have experienced: multiple cameras from different angles, beautiful decorations, astonishing tricks, hands-on experience learning magic and super fluent flow from the performer side. It was amazing! Afterwards the team stayed for a while and tried to debunk a few tricks, shared excitement.
Toughlex Quiz Evening

Now, it is up to you!

As we’ve seen, loneliness is a major health issue that is getting worse with the current pandemic. The social interactions that are normally taking place at the workplace are not automatically getting replaced, and this might create a spiral in which everyone optimizes for efficiency and not for relatedness.

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Baptiste Grand

Baptiste Grand

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I’m an Agile Coach that wants to inspire you to seek happiness in your work and your life, by changing the way we do stuff.