CNN  — 

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Working from home comes with many perks. But there’s also a dark side that doesn’t always get discussed: loneliness.

The abrupt shift to remote work might have you longing for the colleagues you turned to when you got stumped, needed a coffee break or some comic relief when you were just having one of those days.

I didn’t realize how much I relied on my co-workers to bounce ideas off of and to vent to until I recently got frustrated with a story, and had only my toddler to talk to.

And even if you are surrounded by family members or roommates all day long while working from home, you can still be professionally lonely.

That’s not good for you or your employer.

The risks. When you feel lonely it can quickly turn into a downward spiral. Research shows that loneliness hurts job performance. You can become a less effective worker as co-workers find you less approachable and you stop collaborating.

What you can do. It’s all about being proactive. Socializing takes a little bit more effort these days. Aim to set up virtual coffee breaks or social calls just to catch up with your colleagues. Shoot them an encouraging note on Slack or ask about their weekend plans to help feel more connected.

I recently did this with two co-workers and it worked. We hopped on a video call and chatted about life, swapped isolation war stories and yes, even talked about work. I was shocked how much better I felt after we hung up.

What managers can do. Managers play an important role in staving off loneliness. They should look for ways to make sure workers are staying connected.

Regular check-ins with the team help, but don’t make them all about business. Leave some room for socialization, and get the ball rolling if people are being shy. Asking general questions like: “What are people looking forward to the most when life starts to get back to normal?” can get people to start sharing.

Keeping the kids motivated, too

You aren’t the only one who might be feeling a bit lonely or unmotivated these days.

The switch to homeschooling, not being able to hang out with friends in person and the cancellation of important events can be hard for children to cope with.

The key is to establish structure to keep consistency and a sense of control for both you and your kids. To do that, create a schedule, set clear expectations and stick to them.

That’s easier said than done. We get it.

It helps to involve kids and give them a say when creating the schedule so they feel more invested in it.

Check out this guide for more tips on how to effectively motivate your kids during these uncertain times.

Looking for more tips on parenting during a pandemic? CNN’s parenting page has you covered.

Frustrations remain for small business owners

Round two of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which offers loans to small businesses, got off to a rough start.

Small business owners reported facing error messages, painfully slow processing times and other technical glitches when they tried to submit applications.

PPP is part of the $2 trillion stimulus package Congress passed in March. It originally included $350 billion for small business owners to help pay workers, but the funds ran dry in less than two weeks. Congress added another $310 billion to the program last week.

Some good news: The Small Business Administration said Monday it had successfully processed more than 100,000 loans from more than 4,000 lenders since the program started in early April.

The tough job of remote layoffs

As we learned from today’s unemployment claims numbers, the labor market is taking a beating as businesses struggle to survive the sudden and harsh economic downturn.

Letting an employee go is difficult under normal circumstances, but it’s even harder when it happens in the middle of a pandemic and workers are remote.

The human and technical considerations of delivering the bad news virtually are a little different than when managers meet with employees face to face, writes CNN’s Jeanne Sahadi.

Managers should try to set expectations ahead of time to avoid catching a worker off guard. They should also do everything possible to avoid having a technological blunder in the middle of the discussion.

Click here to read five things managers should consider when laying off an employee remotely.

Are all these car deals too good to be true?

Gas is cheap and carmakers are slashing prices. So is now the time to buy a new car if you can afford to?

Automakers are offering never-before-seen deals, according to CNN’s Peter Valdes-Dapena, to try to move the cars, trucks and SUVs that are collecting dust on dealer lots.

We’re talking 84-month car loans at 0% interest in some cases.

Here’s the thing: That’s a long time to be making payments, and your lifestyle needs could change. On top of that, the longer you stretch out your loan, the longer you stay “underwater,” which means you owe more than the car is worth.

Check out this story that breaks down all the risks of taking out longer car loans and the alternatives that might be better for your budget.

Coffee Break

Whether it’s an unruly beard, a surplus of split ends or boisterous eyebrows – we’ve all been left to fend for ourselves when it comes to grooming.

So what exactly can you do on your own without disastrous results?

Check out this comprehensive guide that details how to care for your hair, nails, brows and beards at home.