The pandemic has made remote work increasingly attractive. We hear more and more news stories about workers working remotely or companies closing physical offices every week. There are many challenges employees and managers face when working in isolation, including mental health concerns.
We can learn much from gig workers’ lived experiences – anyone who works independently on a “gig-to-gig” basis. Before globalization became a reality, a form of radical agency, flexibility, and autonomy was a norm-long before it became a trend.
Isolated Work Has High Emotional Costs
You can set your schedule and be your boss as a gig worker. However, gig work can also be isolating. Due to an organization’s lack of relationships and membership, gig workers often feel lonely and anxious. Worrying can even support productivity. High levels of persistent anxiety are also disruptive. Additionally, gig work isolation has implications for professional development. It is often tricky for gig workers to get feedback, new ideas, knowledge, and even emotional support that help them advance their careers.
Develop Community Relations
Working alone can make you feel isolated, so it is vital to create a support network. Gig workers can form thriving social communities even without built-in relationships. It’s up to gig workers to pursue and deepen these connections. Studies demonstrate that gig workers thrive and manage difficult emotions better when they seek out and foster meaningful relationships.
Refrain From Thinking Negatively
People who feel lonely and anxious tend to ruminate more often. It’s not about remembering achievements or finding solutions but rather fixing problems and shortcomings. It is common for gig workers to think ruminatively, such as, “I didn’t finish this client work today – that means I’m not good at my job or cut out for this type of work.” It can reduce anxiety and increase engagement at work to break this cycle.