7 Things You Can Do if You’re Feeling Isolated at Work

If you’re feeling isolated at work, no matter to what degree, it’s important to stay persistent. If you’ve tried your best and found that others don’t immediately reciprocate your efforts, don’t get discouraged and don’t take things too personally—some social habits and office cultures take time to change.

Why ostracism can be like death in the workplace

Why might you feel isolated at work?

There are many reasons you might feel isolated at work. It could be due to internal factors, such as social anxiety or difficulty making new friends, or external factors, such as a workplace culture that doesn’t foster a sense of community. Here are some of the more typical reasons for isolation at work, in more detail:

Youve started working remotely

Recently, many people started working remotely or from home instead of going to physical offices and community settings. It’s important to develop strategies that enable you to maintain relationships with your coworkers even if you are no longer physically in the same space as them as adjusting to a new work environment can be difficult.

Because working from home can be inherently more isolating, think about organizing virtual team-building exercises that will enable you to have fun with your coworkers. Participating in events like online quizzes, book clubs, or virtual team games can be a great way to relax and rekindle relationships with coworkers while keeping your mind off of work.

You share few common interests with your coworkers

You may experience loneliness at work if your coworkers and you don’t get along well. It may be difficult for you to relate to your coworkers if you work in an office where most people are much younger or older than you. Learning more about specific coworkers can frequently reveal less obvious interests. Try striking up conversations with coworkers to learn more about their interests and hobbies. Some of your coworkers might surprise you.

Your workplace doesnt prioritize community

Some working environments dont support a sense of community. This may be due to a rigid manager, rigid rules, or an excessive focus on productivity. These conditions can eventually make you feel alone and even be detrimental to your mental health. Sometimes, changing your environment is the best way to get over feelings of loneliness. Giving up a job that prevents you from being who you are can help you regain a sense of self-assurance, community, and happiness.

Its difficult for you to let others see your personality

If you’re naturally reserved, it might be difficult for you to be yourself at work. Although it might require more time and perseverance, revealing your personality and allowing others to get to know you can be very rewarding. Be kind to yourself and seek out relaxed opportunities to speak with specific coworkers rather than in front of a group. This can assist you in overcoming any feelings of anxiety or overwhelm.

7 ways to feel less isolated at work

There are steps you can take to feel more connected at work, whatever the cause of your feelings of isolation may be. Here are some strategies to try:

1. Do something kind

Being kind has many benefits. One benefit is that it will increase people’s affection for you, make you feel good, and encourage others to do kind things. Think about bringing in baked goods for the office, sending a card of appreciation to a coworker who helped you with something, or providing a small holiday gift to each member of your team.

Your thoughtful action could be as simple as praising someone’s work or getting back to them after they say something. For instance, if a coworker discloses something—such as their child participating in a sporting event or them purchasing a new car—ask them about it again later. This demonstrates your concern and attentiveness, which can strengthen your professional relationships.

2. Make a friend

When you don’t feel socially connected to anyone at work, it can be a sign of isolation. Building a relationship, even with just one person, can help fight feelings of loneliness or isolation. Try to find a kind person to get to know if you’re new to the position. Ask them questions about themselves and find common interests. Over time, you may develop friendships that surprise you.

3. Help others get to know you

It’s common for anyone adjusting to a new social situation to worry that their coworkers won’t like them or accept them. Know that, most often, others share this same concern. While it might require some courage, striking up conversations and telling stories can help others get to know you better. Challenge yourself to take part more in team settings. Jokes, ideas, and a positive attitude toward what others say

4. Talk to your manager

Tell them if you’re feeling alone because of another team member’s behavior if you are. Let them know how their behavior is making you feel, and give them a chance to change it. You dont have to be confrontational. Instead, say, “It makes me uncomfortable when you say things like that,” if they say something you find upsetting. If they refuse to comply with your polite request to stop, report the issue to a manager or supervisor.

It is never acceptable for a coworker or group of coworkers to make you feel uneasy by using offensive language, microaggressions, or other methods. If this happens, there are resources. Tell a manager first, preferably in writing or via email so you can record the abuse. If their response is unsatisfactory, you might need to speak with the human resources department of your company.

5. Look for a different opportunity

Toxic work environments can be extremely isolating. You might not be able to fully recover from the effects of working in an overly negative environment, despite your best efforts. Its important to prioritize your mental health. Removing yourself from the environment may be your only option if you feel isolated for a prolonged period of time. Look into other opportunities to find a place where you feel respected, valued, and appreciated.

6. Start a group

Get your coworkers to connect over something other than work as a way to foster a sense of community. Remote teams can use digital networking tools. There are options to create groups or channels in many communication software programs. Depending on the size of your company, you may end up creating a lot of groups for people with similar interests. You could discuss anything that the people you work with can relate to, such as pets, kids, houseplants, cooking, cars, or books. You may feel more connected to your coworkers and more included if you do this.

7. Find common interests

Because you don’t think you have anything in common with your coworkers, you might feel lonely at work. You almost certainly share at least one interest with everyone you meet. It can just take time to find it. Talk to your coworkers more to learn as much as you can about their interests, hobbies, and history. The more similarities you discover, the closer you will feel to those around you.

FAQ

Why do people isolate themselves at work?

Isolation at work may result from a disparity between age and experience. People who work in settings with high concentrations of different age groups may feel alone and unwelcome in social or professional settings. They might believe they have no one to talk to and that they are unable to connect with others.

What happens when a person is isolated?

Older adults who are alone may be more susceptible to loneliness and social isolation, which can have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. According to studies, social isolation and loneliness increase the risk of developing health issues like heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline.

How do I isolate myself at work?

7 Ways You’re Isolating Yourself At Work (And What To Do Instead)
  1. Create lots of processes and rules. “Don’t email me after 5 pm.
  2. Attack others’ ideas. …
  3. Assume you’re always right. …
  4. Make it about you. …
  5. Use power. …
  6. Take your time. …
  7. Express frustration.

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