Co-Workers Struggle to Feel Connected While Working From Home

NBC 7 Responds looked at some of the challenges in the new, work from home normal

NBC Universal, Inc.

One of the biggest challenges to working from home is the lack of human interaction. While some people enjoy the flexibility of walking to your desk, there is a psychological toll that can be hard to deal with.

"Quite frankly we're all dealing with those things that are most important to us," said Howard Brown, founder and CEO of engagement platform RingDNA. "Those are the connections with other people. Our ability to control our own circumstances."

While you might not think of it, the office is a social place. Jeff Andrew, a local manager, says those connections help us feel connected to our work.

"In between the next meeting I'm talking to whomever I'm walking with as I'm walking back to the office for a couple of minutes," said Andrew. "You don't really have that anymore."

Andrew says having co-workers share pictures of pets or their kids or hearing them talk about home projects is something we are missing now. That's why he makes a conscious effort to talk with each of his employees.

"I try to make time to help any way I can," Andrew said. "Not just in work but outside work. If the staff are happier they're more likely to put in the hours that they need to do the work that they need to."

Brown says it's important for managers to still have one-on-one interaction and human connection while employee's work from home.

"We have to look at the whole person and it's so important to connect with people," Brown said. "We're all missing that connection: the ability to go out to lunch, the ability to sit down in someone's office and ask how they're doing, water cooler talk."

Brown says with the stress of everything else going on in the world, feeling connected to co-workers will help.

"Our ability to connect with other people on a more human level is what ultimately will boost morale," Brown said. "We might be more productive but I think its psychological toll on us, the emotional toll, I think it's surprising."

Brown says try to schedule times to virtually hang out with co-workers and avoid talking about work.

"It's the time in between meetings that we all crave," Brown said. "We can't just work 24/7, we need balance. That balance makes you a better employee."

There are a few things that Brown says can help boost your mood about working from home. Try to get into a regular sleep and exercise schedule and find a passion or interest to explore in your free time. Brown says finding a social group to be a part of virtually can also help.

"We're social beings and if it's all about work all the time it's going to wear," Brown said. "You do anything long enough in front of a camera, at your desk, whatever it is, you're going to burn out."

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