The flexibility enabled by remote work was the goal for many individuals who dealt with a busy lifestyle, weighed down by commute and forced social expectations. At the same time, the growing popularity of remote work sparked a new debate on whether this was the solution to balance personal and professional lives. However, after adopting the remote or even hybrid work lifestyle, many realized that those benefits also came with their own set of challenges — and isolation was one that appeared on most people’s lists.

With this in mind, we present a variety of ways to foster meaningful connections with colleagues and communities. Depending on your personal preferences or needs, this could encompass online activities or physical acts. In any case, the key is to try them and see which ones affect your well-being the most.

Acknowledging & Understanding the Challenges of Remote Work Isolation

Physical distance plays a significant role in separating individuals from their colleagues, but it’s important to acknowledge that there could be more factors to it than we’d like to admit. That’s because isolation can look different from one case to another. For example, a lack of motivation could occur for various reasons, like nutritional deficiencies, burnout, a sedentary lifestyle or chronic stress. Notably, digital nomads reported that the third-most popular aspect they missed was the need for social interaction, which highlights the potentially isolating nature of the remote worker’s environment.

Moreover, the side effects of isolation can vary from loneliness to depression in more severe cases. The initial clues could look like a favorite game that isn’t fun anymore or effortless tasks that suddenly raise the stress level like never before. Similarly, individuals who generally feel energized in social interactions may start feeling isolated much faster than those who prefer and are used to moderate socialization. If you recognize yourself or someone else in a similar state of mind, it’s important to consider the following ways to combat isolation.

Try a Coworking Space

Exploring coworking spaces in your area could offer a change of scenery, as well as the possibility to shorten your commute and interact with various professionals. During the lockdown days, the benefits of such spaces came to the forefront, and it appears that coworking spaces will continue to grow in popularity moving forward. In fact, 69% of digital nomads are either looking for a coworking space right now or are considering looking for one in the future.

On the same note, another study asked for experts’ opinions on the mental health benefits brought forth by coworking spaces, and their answers constructed a well-rounded image of an ideal environment for work/life balance.

“I think working from a coworking space can help facilitate mental health through the satisfaction of basic needs,” said Daisy Chang from Michigan State University’s College of Social Science. “For example, one of them is the need for relatedness, which refers to individuals wanting to develop and maintain meaningful relationships with colleagues, friends, family, etc. However, working in a coworking space gives people more opportunities to meet others and have conversations that are less intentional and by design (for example, a formal meeting), which can lead to the development of unexpected relationships and collaborations.”

Cultivate In-Person Connections When Possible

Coworking spaces are an ideal solution for setting clear boundaries between work hours and your personal life, which then provides time for hobbies and social activities outside of work. As a remote worker, it can be beneficial to occasionally attend local meetups, in-person meetings or conferences. Additionally, in-person gatherings with remote colleagues can be a fun, casual way to create connections. Or, if the opportunity presents itself, try to travel for face-to-face meetings, team retreats or conferences. You may just end up with a great story for your next remote coffee break.

Plus, prioritizing relationships with friends outside of work is crucial, especially during busy periods when they can easily slip your mind. To that end, taking breaks to enjoy coffee or lunch with them can offer much-needed quality time. Likewise, consider scheduling a day to work from the same location or even plan a future “friend-cation” that provides the possibility to work by day and relish in fun activities in the evenings.

Take Part in Virtual Communities

The traditional break with colleagues at the office may not be in a remote worker’s daily calendar, but that doesn’t mean it can’t take a different form. As a remote worker, it’s valuable to participate in virtual team-related activities or schedule coffee breaks with your colleagues during the day. What’s more, using apps like Slack, Teams, or Zoom for daily check-ins with your coworkers can foster a sense of camaraderie or even community. As a matter of fact, a recent survey showed that 25% of workers used their breaks for social activities, as well as to overcome monotony and recharge their social batteries. And, who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself an accountability partner who will provide the level of support and motivation you need.

Notably, online communities can provide a great opportunity to socialize with people from your field of work or those with the same interests as you. For this goal, platforms like Reddit, LinkedIn, or Facebook can come in handy, and they also have a networking component.

Otherwise, there’s also the option to participate in virtual conferences, workshops, and webinars without the costs of commute or accommodation. Of course, staying updated on industry trends can be an icebreaker to any conversation, while simultaneously giving you the chance to work on your soft skills. Granted, sticking to a routine can reinforce your comfort zone, but putting yourself out there can have more benefits than the initial discomfort.


As a remote worker, it can be challenging to maintain connections with your peers because it requires intentional strategies and proactive effort to do so. However, avoiding the side effects of isolation is a great motivation to try new tactics.

For starters, try to schedule a coffee break or a virtual team game. Then, in time, you might find that partner or work friend who will keep social isolation at bay. It’s also important to experiment with your environment and see what works best for you. For this, coworking spaces are a great alternative to your home office and might prompt you to attend an in-person conference that will fill your cup. Finally, remember to take it one day at a time. It’s the only way you can navigate through periods of isolation and show up stronger and more connected.


Maria Zidaru is a creative writer at CoworkingCafe and CoworkingMag, with degrees in Literature and Marketing. Her background in both accounting and publishing provides a diverse perspective to her writings. From arts to chess and real estate, Maria is enthusiastic about engaging in subjects that provide value to her readers.

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