Coronavirus: Overcoming the Loneliness of Social Distancing

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek March 19, 2020
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lonely teleworker

​Many employers are requiring their workers who can to work from home and stop the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19. Cities have been quarantined and President Trump has asked people not to gather in groups larger than 10 people.

But without being able to socialize with colleagues, or visit restaurants, schools, parks, churches or temples with family and friends, many of us will be feeling lonely.

SHRM Online has collected the following articles on how to counteract loneliness while social distancing. 

Coronavirus Is Creating Huge, Stressful Experiment in Working from Home

For many during the coronavirus outbreak, the new normal will be working remotely from home as workers practice social distancing. But that brings new twists to telecommuting, according to The  Atlantic. .
(The Atlantic

How to Be Alone, but Not Lonely, Despite the Coronavirus

Social distancing is an important way to slow down the spread of the new coronavirus. But for many Americans, keeping distance from other people—especially during a time of stress and uncertainty—can feel isolating and lonely. Clint Schaff started working remotely about a year ago after following his wife from Los Angeles to the Bay Area for work. He said he's learned to prioritize staying connected virtually by scheduling video chats and online meetings over morning coffee.
(NPR)

Viewpoint: Coronavirus and the Isolation Paradox

Across the country, people are being asked to work from home, universities are switching to virtual classes and large gatherings are being canceled. These are key strategies to prevent transmission, but they can come at a social and mental-health cost: furthering our sense of isolation from one another and making us forget that we're in this together. 

While social distancing is required to contain the spread of the coronavirus, it may also contribute to poor health in the long run. Physical isolation will be required for many Americans who have Covid-19 or have been exposed to it, but it's important that we don't let such measures cause social and emotional isolation, too.
(The New York Times)  

SHRM Resource Spotlight
Coronavirus and COVID-19

Viewpoint: The Coronavirus-Required Quarantines and Social Distancing Aren't Easy When You Live Alone

Whether you're an extrovert or an introvert, all humans require some connection with others. Mandatory solitude may keep us safer but make us more anxious. Social isolation through working from home may be good news in terms of containing the virus, but bad news in terms of easing our anxiety.
(NBC)  

Viewpoint: Working at Home? Self-Isolation Doesn't Have to Be Lonely

Technology offers simple ways to help approximate the experience of being with others. One writer joined a virtual co-working group. The idea is that at fixed times of the day, you log onto Zoom, Skype or some other tool for online video conferencing. Other people log on too, and after a couple of minutes of structured chat, everyone hits "mute" on their microphones and the session begins. Video on, sound off. As the coronavirus spreads and more and more people retreat from public spaces, I foresee a Zoom Boom: Meeting in a Zoom Room will come to seem normal, not so much postmodern as postviral.
(The New York Times)   

Coronavirus: How to Work from Home, the Right Way 

Shifting to the "home office" will become the new normal for many people for a while, given the World Health Organization's announcement that the coronavirus has officially reached "pandemic" status.
Some employees will be working from home for the first time, which means figuring out how to stay on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity. But there are ways to deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy, from setting up a good workspace to the way you talk to your team.
(BBC)  

Remote Work  

This resource center from the Society for Human Resource Management can help employers facilitate flexible work arrangements while navigating a sophisticated array of technology and remote work policies.
(SHRM Online)

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