Work and the loneliness epidemic

At the end of September and start of October, 2017, a big idea blog series on the topic work and the loneliness epidemic ran in Harvard Business Review. Below are some extracts which I found particularly useful. 

Next time you have a team meeting, try the “Inside Scoop” exercise, an exercise in which team members are asked to share something about themselves through pictures for 5 minutes.

According to a study of commuters on trains and buses, two things keep us from initiating interactions with strangers: # 1: We don’t want to break the ice, either because we fear of being rejected or because we underestimate others’ desire for social connection (“They don’t want to be bothered”). # 2: We worry that if we do engage, we won’t be able to end the interaction. The study also showed that overcoming these barriers has undeniably positive repercussions.

Emojis have been very helpful in allowing people to express themselves in a way that can be sincere and authentic but also creative and wry." "GIFs are another example; there’s a whole bunch of meaning that is culturally encoded in them that fleshes out people’s personalities. And that increases trust and connection.

To combat loneliness, start by saying "hello".

Stroll through the headquarters of any well-funded tech company, and you'll see "perks" ranging from well-stocked kitchens to gyms, meditation spaces, physical therapists, and play spaces (football, ping-pong, and similar activities) - all designed to encourage employees to bring elements of their outside life into the organization. The goal may be to reduce loneliness by building social connections among employees, but it's possible that by keeping us away from genuine communal relationships, this encroachment of work into our personal lives is driving much of our isolation.


Popular Posts