Remote work has been tied to several new trends: Zoom fatigue, blurred work-life balance, better work-life balance and nearly everything in between.
But Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, a proponent of the work arrangement, says that working from home could lead to one commonly overlooked obstacle: loneliness.
“There’s a future where you never leave your home and after COVID is over, the most dangerous thing will be loneliness,” Chesky recently said at a Lesbians Who Tech conference.
For some remote workers, this certainly makes sense.
Oftentimes, a distributed workforce means that employees rarely, if ever, see their colleagues. For hybrid workers, this sense of loneliness can linger even when they do decide to come into the office.
Prior to the pandemic, the pivot to a digitally-driven society was already making isolation a prevalent feeling amongst children and adults. Now, the normalcy of remote and hybrid work means that there is even more reliance on technology.
While digital connection empowers people to link with workers from all around the world, the loneliness gap remains wide without in-person interactions.
“The pandemic does appear to have increased loneliness,” said Mareike Ernst, Ph.D. and coauthor of an APA study on pandemic loneliness.
“As loneliness constitutes a risk for premature mortality and mental and physical health, it should be closely monitored. Loneliness should be made a priority in large-scale research projects aimed at investigating the health outcomes of the pandemic.”