As remote work continues to rise in popularity, so does the challenge of isolation.
Remote employees often miss out on the social interactions that happen spontaneously in traditional office settings. Those of us who work remotely in a virtual setting understand that these social moments, where bonding and trust are built, must be intentionally created. This is where leadership can step in to curate their team’s culture to ensure remote employees feel connected to each other and supported to speak up. When space is not made for these conversations, these moments of team bonding can be lost and we have seen how this lack of intention can negatively impact employees’ mental health.
According to the “Buffer State of Remote 2023“, the Top 3 challenges for remote workers are now:
- 1) I stay home too often because I don’t have a reason to leave
- 2) Loneliness
- 3) Not being able to unplug
That’s why Grow Remote is excited to share a series of local meetup events, led by remote employees, designed to counteract the challenge of remote work isolation. By providing an opportunity for remote workers to connect with each other in person, we hope to combat these challenges and create a supportive network for those who work remotely.
Grow Remote is curating these meetups in partnership with Mental Health Ireland’s “Hello How Are You” campaign. It aims to encourage conversations around mental illness and reduce the stigma associated with it. By bringing remote workers together offline locally in a social setting, Grow Remote chapters are providing a sense of community in which positive mental health is prioritised.
The events are open to anyone who works remotely or is interested in remote work and are organised by remote workers themselves. The events range from casual meet ups over coffee and cake in Mountbellew to a quiz night in Dundalk, a community lunch in Kilkenny, a yoga class in Tuam and Last Fridays drinks in Cork. See the full listing of events here.
The community social meetup events have been a huge success so far, with attendees reporting a sense of camaraderie and connection with others in their local area. Remote workers often feel like they are working in a vacuum, sitting alone in front a screen. But these events provide an important opportunity to share experiences and advice with others who understand the unique challenges of remote work.
As a community organisation, we at Grow Remote believe in the power of local people to create positive change where they live. By bringing remote workers together in a social setting, we can combat the challenge of isolation and promote positive mental health.
The Grow Remote Dundalk Chapter Lead, Ciara Breen, told a local newspaper why they’re running a pub quiz this week: “The Hello, How Are You campaign is a great opportunity to bring together local remote workers and people interested in using remote work to improve their local community.”
After a recent meetup of his local chapter involving cups of coffee and a discussion about how to create social impact locally, Micheál Callaghan in Loughrea announced on Grow Remote Online, “It was great to see so many new faces and hear lots of great ideas.”
Ann O’Brien is the chapter lead of the North East Galway chapter. In her own words, she describes the collective input and community impact of how her chapter operates:
Remote working is an important piece of the new rural ecosystem. Now instead of moving away, people are moving back to rural Ireland. We as a society are in a state of change. Our local Smart Villages group identified economic growth as highly important for the sustainability of our area.
Grow Remote helps us to reach out to people in our area, because some of greatest challenges have involved creating awareness of the new and exciting opportunities available for people to work remotely.
The Mental Health Ireland #sayhello day event gave us the opportunity to work with local groups including Galway Rural Development, Mountbelew Moylough Ladies Gaelic Football club, Mountbellew Active Retirement, with music from Iomár Barrett and friends and Holy Rosary College Mountbellew. As always, we were supported by local businesses who we in turn support. It’s always a team effort!
We encourage anyone who works remotely or is interested in remote work to attend one of these events and experience the power of community for themselves and:
- Be intentional about connecting with others socially
- Using the “Hello, How Are You?” framework to support others.
It doesn’t take a massive crowd to make a massive impact. Even one-to-one conversations can improve the moods of both parties and can often be the highlight of one’s day.
On 29th March 2023, Georgina Wilson from our Tullamore chapter convened a social lunch for local remote workers as part of the “Hello, How Are You” campaign:
“It was a small but mighty meetup!”
If you would like to get involved with local Grow Remote events or bring remote workers together in your local community, you can drop us a line at [email protected].
But first, make sure you join Grow Remote Online first and ask “hello, how are you?”