The Challenges of Solo Shifts: How to Limit Loneliness at Work

Lonely office worker raising their hand from their cubicle

Setting up a new business and embarking on a solo adventure can be truly exciting. You are fully independent and can often manage your working day in a personalised way that best suits your tasks and needs. But, as the saying goes, “not all that glitters is gold”.

In the long term, spending continuous hours working by yourself can become rather challenging. Even if you work for a company, but your role requires you to carry out your duties alone, the situation can be difficult to handle. Sentiments of loneliness can gradually creep in during the day, and it is a fairly common feeling to experience.

In England, 45% of adults tend to feel lonely, whether on an occasional or frequent basis. Arguably, working a full shift on your own, without having someone with which to share a conversation or some thoughts, can contribute to these sentiments of solitude. From high levels of sleep fragmentation to the impact on your mental health, loneliness can play a significant, detrimental role on your general well-being.

But are there some methods to tackle and limit loneliness? Here, we take a look at some steps you can take to overcome the emotional hurdles of working on your own for long hours.

 

Open up about your feelings

One of the best ways to confront your sentiments of loneliness is to talk about your feelings. At first, you may feel hesitant to let friends, family, and colleagues know that spending workdays on your own is affecting your mood. However, normalising these conversations can have a powerful and freeing effect, and will help both you and your colleagues find solutions. By doing so, you may also encourage other people battling with loneliness to open up and enhance their mental well-being.

If you are struggling during your solo shift, or there is currently no one you can chat to, you may want to consider talking to yourself. It may sound odd, but dictating your thoughts out loud can help you reflect on your feelings. Sometimes, talking about your problems the way in which you would with a friend can help you listen to yourself in a similar mindset.

 

Recognise your needs

Humans are social beings. Craving for some connection, attention, and support is an innate need. Therefore, working on your own for large chunks of your day can really put your ‘natural instinct’ to the test.

Trying to lead a balanced life, which entails fitting some human interaction before, during, or after your work shift, will work wonders on your mood and overall well-being. Loneliness can be draining, so a fair dose of social contact in your spare time can be a great cure. Whether it is by volunteering or joining specific groups and classes, there are several ways in which you can actively make new connections.

 

Think about valuable opportunities

Finding time or sourcing opportunities to connect with your community can be a splendid strategy for alleviating feelings of loneliness. Depending on your field of work, you may be able to form ideas that get you involved in larger valuable missions.

For instance, if you work in the delivery or hospitality sectors, you could consider hosting a local food bank. Van leasing would give you the chance to hire a vehicle that suits your needs and helps you transport whatever you require. This can be a rewarding method to squeeze in some much-needed social interaction, while also carrying out a meaningful activity and tackling sentiments of solitude.

 

Take an interest in your customers

You may be spending long hours without the company of colleagues and friends, but there is a chance you will meet customers – whether virtually or in person – from time to time. If that is the case, why not engage in some light conversation?

You could ask them how they are and what they are up to for the rest of the day. More often than not, people will appreciate the fact you are taking interest in them as individuals, rather than as mere clients. They might soon become a familiar face and, whenever you will cross paths with them again, you will get the opportunity to have a brief friendly chat.

If you are feeling lonely and blue, some genuine human interaction with your customers can massively brighten your mood.

 

Set time aside for lunch

Making sure to allow yourself a lunch break is an excellent way for you to break up those solo shifts. Leave your desk or park your work vehicle and find a place to grab a bite.

If you have colleagues, you may want to inform them about your plans and encourage them to join you for a midday meal. Alternatively, you could get in contact with family or friends and arrange to see them during your lunch hour. By socialising between shifts, you will be able to wash away sentiments of loneliness and recharge for your upcoming tasks.

 

There is simply no hiding that working on your own can be a challenge. Feelings of loneliness can hinder your productivity and overall well-being. It is important, then, to find ways in which you can tackle these feelings from the outset. From opening up about your emotions to sifting through rewarding, social opportunities, there are several steps you can take to keep sentiments of solitude at bay.