Employees feeling unmotivated? This maybe the reason..
Although the Covid19 pandemic have been going on for a year and a half now, many people have been feeling more stressed/ burned out than getting used to the new routine in life and work..
Are your employees feeling lonely?
Rising rates of loneliness among employees during the pandemic have put the well-being of employees top of mind for most companies as they map out the future of work. They know that loneliness brings health problems, reduced productivity, turnover, burnout and unmotivated. Some, including JPMorgan and Google, have already declared a return to the office. While increasing face-to-face interaction may be beneficial for some aspects of work, it will not, by itself, create strong interpersonal bonds among colleagues.
Whatever form the return to the workplace takes, building high-quality connections will require a focused set of structures and practices built on a bedrock of psychological safety. Here are the five important elements to consider.
- Look out for the invisible enemy: Employees don’t advertise their loneliness. Objective markers like team membership, network structures, or someone’s degree of extroversion don’t reveal it either. Loneliness at work is an entirely subjective internal belief: Few people truly know me or would support me in my time of need. The lonely feel only superficially connected to others, perhaps cordial but not truly collegial. Employees themselves may not even recognize that they’re lonely.
- Understand psychological safety: That executive’s experience highlights just how essential high-quality connections are for combatting workplace loneliness. Ideally, as companies design their return-to-work policies and structures, they will focus on these two factors. But first they need to ensure psychological safety exists in their organization.
- Orchestrate empathy: Some companies are finding ways to script social interactions to create that level of psychological safety and facilitation. For example, the Arnold and Havas Media company is holding empathy workshops designed by their entrepreneur-in-residence, Michael Tennant. Team members draw from a card deck with self-reflective questions such as “What makes me unique?” Before answering, the team member must articulate their internal reaction (“my heart is beating faster,” “my mind just went blank”) and label that emotional response (“embarrassment, anxiety”). Making these personal disclosures builds empathy in the other participants before they hear the answer to the question.
Design for higher interdependence: Although workshops and exercises can help kickstart high-quality connections, they will not solve loneliness in the long term. Recall the fate of team-building interventions like the infamous “trust fall”: When the team left the woods and returned to the office, the newfound levels of team bonding slipped away unless leadership made additional changes to structures and reward systems.
As we return to the office full-time or adopt hybrid WFH models, much of the advice about preparing teams for the long haul still applies: Reestablish the team’s mission, set explicit interaction norms, consistently enforce them, create a shared team identity, make roles and processes transparent, stabilize the membership, and reduce cross-team switching costs. These steps will promote a strong foundation for team effectiveness.
- Reinforce relationship risk-taking: One more element remains to be reengineered: the performance-management system. Companies need to increase the benefits as well as reduce the risks associated with reaching out to others at work. This means noticing and rewarding people for making the first move as well as for responding supportively to others’ outreach.
Key take away: Ensure that your employees are having a healthy mindset is important!