Whilst there have been amazing opportunities for flexible working and remote working as a result of COVID; perhaps one of the unexpected aspects has been an increase in loneliness.
Sobering facts about loneliness and the impact on health.
This article has some thought provoking commentary on the impact of loneliness and lack of connection.
The review found that loneliness increased the rate of early death by twenty-six per cent; social isolation led to an increased rate of mortality of twenty-nine per cent, and living alone by thirty-two per cent—no matter the subject’s age, gender, location, or culture.
Connection is now up there with diet, exercise and sleep as the key factors for long term well being and health.
The article makes the point that for most, remote working is a short term solution, and there will slowly be a return to the new norm (however that looks). However, it’s something that as leaders, we need to consider:
- How much do we know about the lives of our team and our employees?
- What are they heading home to every night?
- If remote working does continue, how do we make sure that there is connection?
A leader recently told me about how he was talking to one of his team member’s via zoom, and saw another team member sitting in the employee’s house. Further investigation discovered that the second employee lived on his own, and that with remote working, he was literally on his own 24/7. The leader had had no idea.
It’s a fine line between being a sticky beak and sticking our nose into unwanted territory – and looking after the welfare of our employees; but as we talked about last week, increasingly work and home are colliding.
For more on the links of connection to longer term wellbeing, read Dr Hugh McKay’s book and check out the TED talk listed below on the “blue zones”.
Connection is SO important. As we are getting ready for the week ahead – ask what you can do to be someone’s connection this week. Whether that’s a smile, a genuine conversation or something more substantial- this stuff matters. Now, more than ever. What can you do as a leader? As a team member? As a member of your community?
WANT SOME MORE READING?
- Feeling isolated? You’re not alone.
- The Art of Belonging
- How to live to 100+ Ted Talk
- Loneliness can literally break your heart – Forbes
If the above has whetted your appetite, and you’re keen for more.. Here are some ideas:
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