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Resource Center / Mental Health

Socially Isolated at Work? Try These Strategies

Social isolation is a common challenge for employees of all types. Learn some strategies to help avoid making social isolation at work the norm.

The letter "J" for Justworks.
May 23, 20225 minutes

Social isolation is surprisingly common in the workplace, and not just for remote employees. It can be just as challenging for people who work in the same building to connect with one another as it is for people who are part of a virtual team. Whether you’re feeling socially isolated yourself, or if you want to reach out to coworkers who may be feeling lonely, there are a number of strategies you can use to help make sure that social isolation isn’t the workday norm.

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Refer Friends to Apply

If you’re feeling isolated at work because you don’t know anyone, consider referring people you know to apply for openings at the company for which they are qualified. If your referrals get hired, you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to getting to know your coworkers and building relationships with them.

Take an Exercise Class at Lunch

If you’re feeling isolated during the workday, consider heading out to a local gym to take a class during your lunch break. This will provide you with a chance to connect with other people in your local area while also boosting your physical wellbeing. Some of your coworkers may even want to join in, so consider inviting them to join you.

Engage in Company Wellness Challenges

If your company offers a wellness program that includes incentives for participating in fitness challenges, consider getting involved in a group challenge that looks fun to you. By participating in this type of activity, you’ll be able to boost your physical wellness and emotional wellbeing while also bonding with some of your peers.

When your company organizes special project committees, offer to participate.

Volunteer for Committees

When your company organizes special project committees, offer to participate. You’ll have an opportunity to meet people at your company outside of your immediate team, and connect with teammates over a new project that goes beyond your ordinary duties.

Join Company Groups

Businesses often offer a variety of social opportunities for employees, from sports teams to book clubs and more. Find out what kind of activities your company sponsors, and get involved with at least one. Once you join in, you’ll start to get to know — and bond with — others who are involved.

Start a Company Activity

If your company doesn’t have any organized activities, or there aren’t any that you’re interested in, consider starting your own. Try asking your boss if you could send out a survey to find out what kinds of activities your coworkers might be interested in.

Participate in Cross Training

If your company offers cross-training opportunities, be proactive in participating. Not only will you gain new skills and a better understanding of other departments or functions in your company, but you’ll also get to know some of your coworkers a little better.

Find out what local or virtual business organizations your company participates in and look for ways to get involved.

Participate in Learning & Development Opportunities

If your company makes optional classes, workshops, or other learning and development opportunities available to employees, participate in the ones that seem interesting to you. These kinds of events provide opportunities to build your skills while also getting to know like-minded peers.

Reach Out to New Hires

When new team members are slated to join your department, be proactive in reaching out to them and making them feel welcome as soon as they get started. They’re sure to appreciate your friendliness, and you’ll start to connect with your newest coworkers from the very beginning.

Get Involved With Professional Organizations

Connect with professionals in roles or industries similar to yours by joining a professional organization that’s relevant to your field. Participate in in-person or virtual meetings and networking opportunities to build connections with others who do similar work.

Participate in Business Networking

Find out what local or virtual business organizations your company participates in and look for ways to get involved. For example, if your company belongs to the Chamber of Commerce in the area where you live, that probably means that you can attend the organization's functions.

Make a point of regularly inviting coworkers to join you for lunch or coffee, either in-person or virtually.

Invite Coworkers to Lunch or Coffee

Make a point of regularly inviting coworkers to join you for lunch or coffee, either in-person or virtually. Consider reaching out to a different person each month in this way. You’ll start to get to know several different people over the course of just a few months.

How Employers Can Help

Companies and individual managers can also play an important role in helping to minimize social isolation at work. This starts with encouraging regular interactions among all team members, regardless of how long they have been there or if they work from home or in the office.

Overcoming Social Isolation in the Workplace

It can be challenging to make connections with coworkers, but it’s not impossible. The key is to identify what opportunities there are to connect with your peers, or find ways to incorporate other social connections into your workday routine so that you don’t feel so isolated. Whether you work remotely or on-site, there are a number of ways to incorporate human connections into any workday routine.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.