The rates of loneliness at work have risen during the pandemic. This is concerning for both employees and employers, especially since research has linked loneliness to health problems, reduced productivity, turnover, and burnout. As a manager, what can you do to help people overcome this feeling — whether you're working remotely, in the office, or in a hybrid environment? Since few employees will tell you outright that they’re lonely, keep an eye out for signs such as waning motivation, a reluctance to speak up, or missed deadlines.
Focus on building psychological safety in meetings so that people feel safe to connect and be vulnerable with one another. Create the conditions that allow people to express and experience trust and empathy, which helps form closer bonds. Also, assign projects and assignments in a way that encourages integration. It’s easy, especially when working remotely, to default to working in parallel or merely passing the baton from one teammate to the next, but that allows for little true connection.
Design work so that people are interacting and collaborating in meaningful ways.