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WHEN EMPLOYEES FIND REMOTE WORK ISOLATING

by | Dec 3, 2020

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Not everyone is loving this extended period of working from home. While many employees are enjoying the extra time with their family that remote work allows, others are finding it isolating, with resulting feelings of loneliness or even depression.

Single-person households

It’s important to remember that a large number of your employees probably live alone. Single-person households make up over a quarter of US homes now. Although many employees who work remotely due to the pandemic might be missing the camaraderie of the office, these single employees might be more significantly impacted.

Younger employees

Many of these single employees also fall into the group companies are fighting hardest to attract and keep — those in the early stages of their careers. How their managers help them through these extended months of the pandemic will be important to maintaining their engagement, not to mention their mental health. For more on the enthusiasm gap between experienced and new remote workers, see this Wall Street Journal article.

Extraverts vs. introverts

Another factor in whether employees thrive working at home or not is their personality type. In Tribe’s national survey with employees working from home due to Covid-19, respondents who identified themselves as extroverts were 50% more likely to say their work satisfaction was higher when they were working in the office. They also were 33% less likely to recommend their company as a great place to work, compared to before the pandemic.

What can companies do to help those extroverts who find long-term remote work isolating? In the Tribe survey, extraverts were more interested than introvert in opportunities to connect with other employees. Here’s how likely extraverts said they were to participate in:

• Mentor programs, either as a mentor or mentee: 48%

• Volunteer activities, socially distanced or post-pandemic: 39%

• Virtual wellness challenges, like online step challenges: 29%

• Video conferencing for Q&A with leadership: 26%

The role of managers

Besides providing opportunities to connect outside of business activities, companies can also coach their managers to be aware that not all employees will respond the same to long-term remote work. Those employees who are feeling isolated may be helped by more frequent check-ins, both with their teams and one on one with their managers. They also could benefit from taking time at the beginning or end of video calls for more socializing, similar to what occurs in most face-to-face meetings when people are working in the same office. For more on what managers can do to better lead remote teams, try this Best Practices one-pager.

We’ve learned a quite a bit through this forced experiment of widespread remote work that so many companies have experienced since the pandemic. Perhaps one of the most important learnings is that not all employees are well suited to the same solutions.

Interested in more ways to keep your remote employees engaged? Tribe can help.

 

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