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Some jobs are easier to perform remotely than others — but during the COVID-19 outbreak, many of us haven’t been given a choice. This can be a major adjustment, especially if working from home is entirely new to you, or if it feels lonely

There is one silver lining: You’ll likely experience a boost in productivity — and possibly job satisfaction — while working remotely, according to a research review published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, which found that overall, telecommuting leads to increased job performance, as well as satisfaction and commitment to one’s organization. But for those who work remotely, that productivity can also be met with — and offset by — bouts of loneliness. 

A 2019 Gallup survey found that nearly a quarter of remote workers named “loneliness” as their biggest struggle while working from home. But Gallup’s researchers note that by tweaking our habits and routines throughout the day, we can increase feelings of connection, even if we’re working by ourselves on the couch. What’s more, honing in on those feelings of connection makes us happier and better able to handle job-related stress, according to MIT Sloan Management Review.

If you’re looking for ways to feel that sense of connection while working from home, you aren’t alone: nearly 80 percent of respondents to a Thrive Global survey of 5,000 respondents around coronavirus pain points said they wish they knew of more small, actionable ways to stay connected when working remote. These Microsteps can help you do just that. 

Each day, message someone on your team and ask them a question about their life outside of work. 

When your home becomes your office, it’s all too easy to let professional endeavors take precedence over your personal life. Talking with your colleagues about things that have nothing to do with work will remind each of you just how important it is to maintain work-life integration, even when circumstances outside your control make that more difficult. Whether you check in about how your coworker’s kids are doing or ask if they caught up on the latest episode of your favorite show, a convo that isn’t related to your jobs will encourage you to (virtually) bring your whole selves to work.

When you log onto your computer in the morning, send a “Good morning!” message to your team on email or chat.

It helps all of you feel connected – the same way your in-person morning greeting typically would – and it also lets everyone know you’re on and available to help. Even just those few words really do go a long way in fighting off feelings of isolation. 

Today, reach out to your manager and ask if you can schedule a daily five-minute touchbase. 

This way, you can rest assured that you’ll have time to check in with each other even when you’re not seeing each other in person. 

Working From Home in the New Normal is a data-driven storytelling initiative from SAP and Thrive Global, bringing together insights powered by the Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse with actionable Microsteps and stories from Thrive to help you navigate working from home. Visit daily for the latest data and stories to help improve your focus, prioritization, and well-being.

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