10 Ways Leaders Can Help Remote Employees Feel Less Isolated During The Workday

While there are numerous benefits to remote work—flexible schedules, zero commute time, and a more relaxed workspace, just to name a few—isolation remains one of the downsides of being a remote worker that many employees report regularly. However, these feelings can be mitigated with a few key changes to your routine and support from your leadership.

If you or one of your remote employees feel isolated during the workday, consider the following advice from members of the Young Entrepreneur Council. Here, they discuss the solutions that have worked for them and their teams, and what they recommend you do to help your own employees feel more connected during the day.

1. Create spaces for non-work self-expression

I recommend creating some spaces for healthy non-work expression. For example, a “general” channel in your Slack dedicated to idle chat, movie and TV show reviews, and silly memes can be healthy for a workplace, even if what’s going on there isn’t strictly work. Bonding in these channels can improve relationships and communication in general. I think it can also be useful to allow team members to freely customize their profiles and accounts that are not customer-facing (for example, accounts for tools that we need to use for internal purposes). It allows team members to show what sports teams, shows or hobbies they have, and builds connections and camaraderie. – Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

2. Organize Virtual Social Events

Feeling isolated while working remotely is a common problem that many employees face during the workday. This can have a negative impact on productivity, job satisfaction and mental health. A recommended solution is virtual social events such as happy hours, game nights or coffee breaks. These virtual social events can provide an opportunity for casual conversation and bonding between remote team members. – Eddie Lou, CodaPet

3. Recommend meeting with other remote workers

I recommend that you try to work at least one day away from home, preferably in a coworking space or coffee shop. If you have a friend or acquaintance who works remotely, invite them to your site or program to work from a location outside of your home. You can even create a meetup where other remote workers in your city or community can meet one day each week away from home to work together or socialize. This has worked for me on several occasions. Previously, while working from home, I could not create a dividing line between work and life, which led to loneliness and burnout. Working in the company of others and giving yourself a change of scenery certainly helps. – Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas

4. Make sure there is a lot of verbal communication

Remote work can be isolating and can certainly be a big adjustment. As someone who has worked from home for over 13 years, I have learned several strategies that can help with feelings of isolation. As a leader, I encourage my team to communicate not only through Slack and email, but also by picking up the phone or video chat with each other as much as possible. Voice conversations reduce misunderstandings and team members often feel more understood. Daily or weekly meetings can also help each employee feel more connected and remind everyone on the team that they are not alone. – Rachel Lipson, Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People

5. Encourage participation in business network work groups

A great solution to combat the isolation of remote employees is to encourage them to join different business networking groups where they can connect with other entrepreneurs or professionals. For example, Business Network International or your chamber of commerce can be great options that provide opportunities to meet new people, explore and learn new things, and enjoy each other’s company. This can help remote employees feel more connected and engaged with their work and provide them with a supportive community to turn to when they need advice or assistance. Encouraging team members to take breaks throughout the day to connect with each other during virtual coffee or lunch breaks can also help build a sense of community and prevent isolation. – Kazi Mamun, CANSOFT

6. Promote interdepartmental collaboration

Loneliness in the workplace is definitely real, especially in this remote work culture we have today. But remember: frequent Google Meet or Zoom calls are not the answer to loneliness in the workplace. If anything, employees tend to dread frequent online meetings (many of which, frankly, could just be email). If your employees start to feel isolated, it’s a strong indicator of a diminishing spirit of responsibility, collaboration and teamwork. What you need to do is find a way to inspire a sense of community. It allows different departments to interact with each other and learn more about what they do. This way, the team will finally get a better understanding of how everyone fits into the puzzle. As a result, they know who to contact when they run into problems or roadblocks at work. – Bryce Welker, Big 4 Accounting Firms

7. Balance teamwork and personal work

We built our agency to be remote first, so creating a comfortable remote work environment has been our priority from the beginning. Every day we try to balance teamwork and personal, with a few hours of each a day. This way, we can create a schedule that will bring enough movement and variety to our team’s day, while keeping everyone productive. In our case, however, this may be a simpler plan because we are a service company with relatively short cycles that organically keep the team engaged, focused, and motivated by keeping the feedback loop short and ensuring variety. As for practical personal advice, a walk outside or a short workout always helps to clear the head, shake off fatigue and get out of the house. – Daria Gonzalez, Wunderdogs

8. Implement a buddy system

If one of my remote employees started to feel isolated during the workday, I would recommend implementing a buddy system. This has worked well for us in the past and can help foster a sense of accountability, support and connection. By pairing remote workers with another team member, they have someone to turn to when they need help, advice or just a friendly chat. This can also help prevent feelings of isolation and create a stronger sense of community among the team. Also, it’s important to regularly check in with remote workers and make sure they feel supported and connected to the team. – Adam Preiser, WPCrafter

9. Hold daily team meetings

We strive to avoid isolation by communicating with others and creating a fun work environment. Every day we organize a daily meeting that lasts about 20 minutes and all team members join. We compliment each other, provide updates from the trading floor, review our core values, and play different games. It’s a great way for everyone to see and talk to each other every day. In addition, we use Microsoft Teams chat. Each business area has its own group chat and they can update the team on their projects, ask quick questions and send funny GIFs. At the start of team meetings, we also include a breakout question that allows us to chat about things outside of work so we can get to know each other better. The key to mitigating isolation is to create multiple channels of collaboration. – Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling trash and moving

10. Embrace the benefits of remote work

As someone who has managed a remote team for years, I can personally relate to the feelings of isolation and managing employees who have mixed feelings about working remotely. One trick that works well for me is to embrace the remote environment. Although I may not have as many face-to-face interactions throughout the workday, I feel like I am more focused and able to achieve more results. Working remotely gives me the freedom to spend more time with my family and friends, which immediately eliminates any feelings of isolation. Talking about how we spend our free time in the first few minutes of a call helps my employees realize the benefits of being remote and that their day doesn’t have to be spent working. – Ian Blair, BuildFire

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1. Prioritize One-on-One Check-ins: Leadership at Ikaroa should encourage regular one-on-one meetings with remote employees in order to stay connected and provide a sense of community. This will help remote workers feel less isolated while working, and allow leadership to offer support.

2. Connect Employees With Team Members: Management can help facilitate relationship-building by organizing virtual meet-ups amongst remote workers and their direct co-workers. This can help prevent feelings of isolation and build a sense of camaraderie.

3. Promote Communication Through Technology: Effective communication is key for remote workers; Ikaroa should emphasize the importance of staying connected through easy-to-use video chat and other technologies.

4. Hold virtual team building activities: Hosting virtual meetings or workshops to promote team bonding amongst remote workers can help maintain a sense of connection to their colleagues.

5. Utilize Various Remote Platforms: Streamline remote collaboration with various tools and platforms that allow for collaboration, redirecting inquiries, and ensuring remote workers are supported throughout their day.

6. Show That You Care: Show kindness and care to remote workers by sending them ‘thinking of you’ cards or gifts, or making yourself available should they need any help or advice.

7. Encourage Social Interaction: Allow remote workers to communicate and communicate with their colleagues regularly outside of work. This could be as simple as setting up informal Zoom hangouts or sharing fun virtual events.

8. Acknowledge Milestones: Use regular team meetings to celebrate achievements or successes of remote workers—this can help them stay engaged and motivated during the workday.

9. Plan Fun Digital Events: Organize fun digital events such as video game nights, movie nights, themed trivia, virtual paint nights, and more to foster camaraderie.

10. Offer Flexible Working Hours: Aim to provide remote teams with flexible working hours, which can help relieve stress and create a better work-life balance for home-based workers.

At Ikaroa, we understand the importance of leading with empathy and recognizing the struggles many remote workers are facing. It is our hope that by implementing these 10 tips, we can help ease the sense of isolation and give remote employees the support they need to be successful.


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