While the pandemic has been humming along for thirteen months now, there are introverts like my husband who have really found their groove with remote work, and don’t seem to be so bothered by it. Meanwhile there are extroverts like myself who are DONE with it, and are finding that remote work is wearing on them even more as the months drag on.
There is no doubt that anxiety levels have spiked for a variety of reasons throughout the pandemic. Interestingly enough, anxiety can be driven by the psycho-social stressors we are experiencing by the losses in our remote work environments. There is some fascinating new research on what we lose from a psychological and social perspective when we are forced to work remotely.
I want to share a few key findings with you. Research has found that 23% of our friendships tend to form at work. The frequency at which we see someone is a key factor to whether or not we form a friendship. So it’s not so much whether we feel close to that individual, but do we bump into them often? That is a more important factor. Certainly those friendships back at the office tend to alleviate loneliness. They are based on the convenience of having someone right there in the office next to you. Those qualities of organically bumping into someone in the hallway and catching up, they are difficult to replace online through all of the channels we have been trying to use this past year. In order to do it online, we have to schedule them. We have lost that organic, impromptu, accidental quality of office-place friendships entirely. The second key factor in what we have lost is shared space. We need to be near someone to have the opportunity to bump into them in the hall. When we do have that opportunity to vent about a meeting we just came out of, or get caught up on a co-worker’s family, those interactions lower our stress.
Career Coaching for Professionals
If you are one of the many professionals who is feeling burnt out after being forced to work remotely for so long, the first thing that I want you to really ask yourself is whether or not your employer is going to be changing and improving things for you anytime in the near future. Does your company’s plan for returning from remote work seems like it is going to fit for the way that you are wired and the way that you prefer to work? For a lot of us, we are in the last chapter of what has not worked for us, and things are about to get a lot better. However, if you are a highly social, extroverted individual and your company has announced that they are not bringing folks back into the office – it may be time to look around for a serious change. If you feel that you do need to make a course correction in your career due to the shifts in your work life which have happened as a result of the pandemic, do not hesitate to seek the help of a professional. Therapists and coaches can support you in processing through serious changes in your work life that may be necessary at this time.
We are here for you as individual, couple, and family therapists! We offer individual counseling, couples counseling, and family counseling. If you would like more information about Flourish’s counseling services, reach out to us at 303-455-3767 x. 5 or fill out our contact form today.