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Remote workers to be happy you gotta have friends

Search Remotely Remote Worker How To Be Happy

If you are working virtually or hybrid you know the advantages. We don’t need to tell you.  The purpose of this article is help remote workers avoid social disconnectedness and lack of belonging.

Remote workers are generally happy

 A study of telecommuters working in Germany for big banks published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed:

  • When given the option to self-select work location (in office, remote, or other location), workers are generally happier,
  • Changing work environments from time to time can improve attention to work tasks and promote increased levels of focus and concentration,
  • Greater autonomy offered by flexible working arrangements has a positive effect on the psyche (human soul and spirit).

Remote jobs help give meaning and allow self actualization

Additionally, when compared to traditional in-office employee attitudes, staff allowed more flexibility through remote and hybrid work agreements derive a significantly higher sense of:

  • Meaningfulness from their lives. Remote workers feel that their jobs allow them to give meaning to their lives as they contribute to the welfare of others.
  • Self-actualization can be achieved. Tele-commuters believe they can achieve their full potential and that their talents are fully optimized largely due to the freedom given by their employers.
  • Commitment to the company, the job and the remote team. Remote staff held higher levels of commitment across these three elements to show great loyalty to their employer, their remote job and remote team members.

Remote staff have lower belief in shared purpose

Remote employees have lower beliefs in a common goal and shared purposes. This is a glaring area where  in-office worker attitudes differed from their remote working colleagues:

  • In-person employees reporting to a traditional office held higher beliefs that they have common goals with their work colleagues. They affirmed working in an environment where each was held accountable for their own work and no one passed the buck or falsely blamed their colleagues for work-related mistakes.

Remote employees may need work friends

So while remote work and hybrid working arrangements have their advantages, there is a catch.  Remote employees may need to work harder to develop work friends. We’d like to send a message to remote workers, tele-commuting and working  remote jobs virtually. To be happy and live your best life you need friends. This reminds us of “Donkey” character voiced by Eddie Murphy in the kid’s movie, “Shrek.” You can hear his song here:

Donkey’s Friend Song

“Cause I’m all alone
There’s no one here beside me
My problems have all gone 
There’s no one to deride me! 
But ya gotta have friends…”

Sense of belonging key to happiness

Research published in Science Direct, indicate the people, regardless of country, socio-economic income, culture or ethnicity receive positive benefits from social interactions. As humans, it is our nature to want to belong. To feel included and valued.

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One can see why remote workers should take the impact of working virtually away from physically interacting with their peers seriously.

One thing that’s very sad about how most people enter adulthood and embark upon their first job, is that their own personal satisfaction is never calculated in the journey they should choose. Instead, we make it all about money, prestige, or lifestyle.

In latching on to the benefits of remote work, without giving the emotional costs associated with working in isolation, we may have come up short.

And while our remote job careers aren’t the only financial foundation for our lives, we have maintained (and data as supported) remote working agreements is a primary source of happiness for us. As we continue down the remote work pathway, we must always stop. Analyze. Take a breath to make doubly sure that we are on a career path that not only financially supports our personal life, but also delivers warm fuzzy feelings when we work from home.

Personal life intrudes upon remote staff when WFH

Luckily for remote workers, we haven’t yet avoided work because of burnout and dissatisfaction with what remote job tasks we are completing and where we are working (from home).

However, if we notice that we are spending more time avoiding work and instead  are fully immersed in our personal lives while working from home, it may be a sign that things need to change.  Maybe we need to accept an offer for hybrid work. Or, maybe we need to become more proficient with online communication tools. Or, maybe we need to put in a little more in-office face time while tele-commuting.

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Either way, we could be feeling in the back of our minds that we don’t feel as if we belong. We may lack a sense of belongingness because of the hard-fought gains of working autonomously.

There is some basis for this line of thinking.

To be happy is to belong

Getting back to the research. In the Science Direct, Happiness and sense of belonging in the world value survey,” article “one’s perceived happiness was predicted by feeling connected to almost all [environmental] domains.”  Everyone, regardless of country of citizenship or residency, age, sex, educational attainment, living abode and location (suburbs, rural, city)  and income needs to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to be happy.

In life, we try to experience happiness and joy with every waking moment. Of course, that’s not always possible. Something always gets in the way.  But negative feelings should never stem from your chosen career path or your inability to manage your time properly so that you are meeting the needs of your business and personal life.

Take a moment to analyze where you are right now. What is it about life that brings you the most happiness? To be honest, it may be your career that makes you happy. Perhaps you love spending your time helping others achieve their goals.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your remote work arrangement and wanting to invest more of the time saved from commuting back into your company. But be careful. You can’t let your personal life suffer in the process. Whether or not you have personal relationships to nurture, you still need downtime to re-energize and refuel your creativity and dedication to maintaining a quality online business and/or keeping your remote job.

Home life presents built-in sense of belonginess

By the same token, it is so easy, because of our home-based work location, to be drawn toward personal life challenges and commitments during the daytime working hours. All because we have a built-in sense of belongingness (to nuclear family, extended relations and friends) and may feel less connected to work.

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Sometimes, what makes you happiest in life can be something seemingly insignificant, and not work-related. Maybe  your remote work location enables you to revel in the quiet morning moments when you walk out onto your porch (in your pajamas)  and sit silently with a cup of coffee as you watch the hummingbirds buzz around the feeder.

Other remote staff, however, may not have that ‘being in nature’ vibe. They may feel a sense of loneliness in not seeing their colleagues in person as much as they would like. Or, they may feel left out from in-office gossip and the latest news. They may miss in-office meetings where they work shoulder-to-shoulder, adrenalin flowing, sweat dripping to meet the deadlines of an exacting boss, perfectionistic client or complaining customer.

Lower sense of belonging leads to greater health risks

In closing, research demonstrates that people who lack of affiliation, experience low social interactions and low sense of belonging are predicted to have worse physical and mental health outcomes. If you are feeling disconnected from your workplace. It’s imperative that you try to find ways to re-connect. Become more engaged. Not only will the prospects of your continued employment improve; your physical and emotional well-being depends upon it.


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