Community//

Mental isolation at work

Seven ways to tackle mental isolation

Think about the last time you really felt isolated at work. I don’t mean the isolation that the world is currently experiencing due to the Corona pandemic that has forced people into isolation from their colleagues. Regardless of where you work or how many people you are surrounded with physically, mental isolation can happen under any circumstance. Those feelings can negatively impact your morale and engagement. It could ultimately cause you to look for a new job. Engaged employees contribute positively to your bottom line. Tackling isolation at work goes beyond making everyone get along. To remove isolation, you should understand what it is, how to spot it and then work to help overcome it. Isolation isn’t about whether or not you talk to each other over lunch. It’s whether you think you don’t fit in. Whenever possible it’s about checking with each other and finding out how everyone is doing, what’s on their mind and importantly how are they feeling. An open environment where people feel comfortable sharing their observations and thoughts is essential. Here are some ideas to help break through isolation at work.

1. Focus on people
If you identify a communication problem, bring the group together to discuss different communications styles and expectations. Let the group talk about what they’d like to see in the team’s interactions, breaking down what team members are looking for. Understand that not everyone is motivated by the same things. Recognising and being respectful of those differences is key.


2. Engagement opportunities
If you hold departmental meetings, make it about more than just work. Build in opportunities for team members to share something about themselves. It can be as simple as the highlight of their weekend or something great that happened the previous week. Use these types of casual icebreakers to help the team get to know one another on a personal level.


3. Positive culture
The obvious point of a workplace is to get work done. In some office environments, small talk is taboo. But if you want to function as a collaborative team, there needs to be some sort of personal connection. Allow time for people to chat and get to know each other.


4. Open communications
Make sure people don’t feel left out. Check in with everyone on a regular basis and encourage open feedback. If someone’s feeling isolated ask them what they would like to change in the situation. Look for ways to address their concerns.


5. Everyone is different
Every workplace features a range of personalities, age groups and a mix of cultures. Everyone brings different talents to the table, but they’re all part of the team.The goal is working together for the company. Make sure everyone feels valued, no matter what their differences are.


6. Encourage camaraderie
Is your work place arranged to encourage interaction? Even in these times of home-office, the openness and availability of your colleagues are crucial for preventing the feelings of isolation. Are the doors – metaphoric or actual – always closed or open and inviting? Of course, it is important to set healthy boundaries – especially when working from home – to establish what the working hours are and not infringing on personal / family time.


7. Involve everyone
To fully tackle workplace isolation, everyone on the team must play a role. Encourage the employee who feels isolated to interact with the team. Something as simple as saying, “hello” and engaging in small talk goes a long way. Help foster relationships by suggesting common ground where the employee can start conversations and build connections.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Top Online Coaching Mental Health Tips To Overcome COVID19 Isolation
Community//

Top Online Coaching Mental Health Tips To Overcome COVID19 Isolation

by Stephen Frost
Community//

Expressive Writing: A Powerful Way To Cope With Self-Isolation

by Stephanie Wells
Isolated woman looking out window
Community//

Isolating Yourself Is One Of The Signs Of Burnout (Plus: 4 Tips For Dealing With Isolation)

by Whitney Gordon-Mead, MSc

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.