Ways to improve remote relationships and combat online fatigue

Online fatigue has become an everyday struggle with most of us stuck at home for almost a year now. Confining ourselves indoors unexpectedly presents new challenges. However, with discipline and organizational skills, there’s always room for improvement and balance. 

While some relish in the little joys of working from home, for most of us, this can be a major adjustment. Times are tough and honestly speaking, we’re all dealing with it in our own way.

“Working from home leads to longer working hours, leaving me feeling depleted of motivation and creativity. Antidotes are connection and movement. Make sure you carve out time in your day to have cups over tea over calls with colleagues. That helps”, says Sasha a PR professional based in Malaysia.

While bonding virtually can be a challenge, nothing is impossible. With this article, we explore how to maintain remote relations and combat online fatigue.

Read our survival guide to the wilderness of remote work.

Step-up and show-up

These days, as long as you have a smartphone and wifi connection, there’s close to nothing you can’t do. This especially rings true when there are so many digital apps and online tools available for us to plan virtual hangouts, meetings and social sessions. Take this time to initiate chat groups with your friends and colleagues, and check on their availability. All you have to do is, choose a platform, schedule time in and make yourself visible. 

If you have any doubt, choose to not be afraid of making the first move and initiate conversation. While it may be weird to talk to your co-workers out of office settings, you should never underestimate what a simple ‘hello’ can do. 

Leave time for play

Get creative! For teams at work, websites such as Range.co have ice-breakers for remote team-building ideas. Since we’re now living the virtual life (and learning to embrace it), anything from coffee breaks to birthday celebrations or even child-to-work-day can find a place in your new work-from-home setup. 

Games have and will always be the best way to interact and online versions of it such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Texas Hold’em, Among Us and Catan have risen to popularity especially during these times of isolation. 

SYNC remote staffers talk about working from home and how they cope.

Be honest and open-minded

Some may have responsibilities at home and can’t participate. Or you may even feel unprepared to face your colleagues for online interactions outside of your workplace. 

Everybody has different coping mechanisms, especially during this unprecedented time. Try to understand that everyone deals with it in their own way. 

Inviting others to share their experiences with you might help maintain the relationship. The most important thing to remember is that you can’t control how other people respond so take it easy.

Pay attention and be patient

In the absence of social cues, people have to learn how to communicate over the internet. Emojis, GIFS, memes are very popular these days though nothing beats face-to-face interactions.

No matter which medium you are comfortable using, don’t forget that relationships are a two-way street. If you want to be heard and taken seriously, then you have to listen wholeheartedly.

Genuine relationships are harder to keep without the physical element. 

But Joe Pinsker of The Atlantic shares that due to economic and technological developments, remote relationships are starting to closely resemble those with sufficient physical contact. “The tools for interacting today – the video chatting, the text and picture messaging, the co-streaming sites – are honestly pretty great, although it’s not clear how long it’ll be applicable.”

However, increased reliance on our mobile devices coupled with the desire to bridge the gap brought by the absence of physical connection has led to excessive screen time and more pressure on our overall well-being.

Take back some control

If the internet has become a space that tells us what to do instead of the other way around, then it’s time to take the control back. Like with any task, setting objectives is important when we go online to watch videos.

Stay on track and once we’ve completed the task, log off. It’s important to develop healthy habits and stop the source of stress when needed.

Psychologists say that more people are prone to social anxiety because they are opening up their homes and personal spaces to others, and that quarantine-induced Zoom fatigue is real. This is because every phone or video call reminds us of how much our lives have changed from what it used to be.

When every day seems like a test of competence in whatever role we play in our lives, it’s easy to lose our direction. We need to accept that as human beings, we won’t feel our best every single day. This will set us on the path to recovery using tools available to us. Furthermore, taking charge of our relationships helps strengthen the ways we cope – both online and offline.

If you’re curious to learn more about storytelling, branding and public relations or want to speak to a SYNC consultant about starting your brand’s PR journey, contact us at [email protected].  

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