April 3, 2021

Loneliness may be the biggest threat to productivity right now

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Mitra Kalita, a veteran media executive, author, and journalist. u003c/p>u003cp>u003c!-- piano selector -->u003c/p>u003cdiv class="paywall"> u003ch4>In u003ca href="https://fortune.com/2021/03/17/how-the-best-leaders-can-acknowledge-the-other-pandemic-loneliness/">this week's editionu003c/a>, Kalita looks at how lonely, disconnected workers might be hurting—and what they need from you. u003c/h4> u003chr class="wp-block-separator"/> u003cp>When COVID struck, we were already in a pandemic: the loneliness pandemic. u003c/p> u003cp>More than a year ago, u003ca href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/23/798676465/most-americans-are-lonely-and-our-workplace-culture-may-not-be-helping" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">60% of Americans reportedu003c/a> feeling lonely, left out, poorly understood or lacking companionship. It’s only gotten worse. u003c/p> u003cp>As companies prepare for the logistics of returning to work, the mental-health crisis of their employees looms large. Surveys show u003ca href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/03/03/working-home-pandemic-has-left-americans-lonely-and-stressed-column/6883765002/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">anxiety and stressu003c/a>affect productivity and retention; u003ca href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/chriswestfall/2020/10/08/mental-health-leadership-survey-reveals-80-of-remote-workers-would-quit-their-jobs-for-this/?sh=2db3b7523a0f" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">TELUS International u003c/a> says 80% of workers would consider leaving their current employer for one that focuses more heavily on mental health.u003c/p> u003cp>How can workers and managers solve for burnout and loneliness as a part of our transition to the workplace of the future? The twin pandemics are hitting workers hard, but also represent an opportunity to rethink and reconnect dynamics among teams. That’s the message of two new books on the subject. u003c/p> u003cp>“We are on the cusp of a reset. How often in life do we get a do-over?” asked Susan McPherson, author of u003ca rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Art-Connecting-Meaningful-Relationships/dp/1260469883" target="_blank">u003cem>The Lost Art of Connecting: The Gather, Ask, Do Method for Building Meaningful Business Relationshipsu003c/em>u003c/a>. “Now we have the ability to go forth knowing how important, how vitally necessary having hugs and meaningful deep conversation is, to gather in groups outside of existing family. We also know the power of technology, good and bad. We have the chance to do it right.”u003c/p> u003cp>Her research and that of economist Noreena u003ca href="https://fortune.com/company/hertz-global-holdings" target="_blank">Hertzu003c/a>, author of u003cem>u003ca rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.amazon.com/Lonely-Century-Restore-Connection-Pulling-ebook/dp/B0841NT92X" target="_blank">The Lonely Century: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That's Pulling Apartu003c/a>u003c/em> find common ground and offer concrete, prescriptive ideas to combat loneliness. u003c/p> u003chr class="wp-block-separator"/> u003cp>Kalita chats with both authors about what works (and what doesn't) as managers try to reconnect with employees. u003c/p> u003ch4>u003cstrong>u003ca href="https://fortune.com/2021/03/17/how-the-best-leaders-can-acknowledge-the-other-pandemic-loneliness/">Read her full column here.u003c/a>u003c/strong>u003c/h4> u003ch4>u003cem>Wondering what else the future of work holds? Visit u003c/em>Fortuneu003cem>'s u003ca href="https://fortune.com/topic/smarter-working/">Smarter Workingu003c/a> hub presented by Future Forum by Slack. u003c/em>u003c/h4> u003ch3>This week’s readsu003c/h3>nu003cp>u003cstrong>u003ca href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__resetwork.co_2021_03_14_how-2Dto-2Ddesign-2Dhybrid-2Doffices_-3Futm-5Fsource-3DReset-2BWork-2BInc.-26utm-5Fcampaign-3D8aceb9ef15-2DEMAIL-5FCAMPAIGN-5F2021-5F03-5F14-5F05-5F32-26utm-5Fmedium-3Demail-26utm-5Fterm-3D0-5F8de2b7fe0d-2D8aceb9ef15-2D1339923840&d=DwMFaQ&c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&r=Hdf8n3YCkYghf0w0iRsjXG39aVsPIyfkzyz_vs62Up8&m=r2SpyWJKGLAZV_ughY2qRPbGVuh82iIHc8MS6V6yHlg&s=EUDod5DcfFwW6MSmR8vKB2ogtdCj9w4pPuMCZFOJFzo&e=">Hybrid worku003c/a>u003c/strong>u003c/p>nu003cp>One employersplit the the week so one team worked one half and another the other half, and people never met. So it ended up with two companies in parallel. That was not the goal (Reset)u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cstrong>u003ca href="https://fortune.com/2021/03/16/elon-musk-net-worth-tesla-stock-tsla-options-compensation-plan/">Epic payu003c/a>u003c/strong>u003c/p>nu003cp>The elaborate architecture of Elon Musk’s comp package puts Tesla’s CEO on track to make history. (u003cem>Fortuneu003c/em>)u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cstrong>u003ca href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.mckinsey.com_business-2Dfunctions_organization_our-2Dinsights_a-2Dfresh-2Dlook-2Dat-2Dpaternity-2Dleave-2Dwhy-2Dthe-2Dbenefits-2Dextend-2Dbeyond-2Dthe-2Dpersonal-3Futm-5Fsource-3DReset-2BWork-2BInc.-26utm-5Fcampaign-3D8aceb9ef15-2DEMAIL-5FCAMPAIGN-5F2021-5F03-5F14-5F05-5F32-26utm-5Fmedium-3Demail-26utm-5Fterm-3D0-5F8de2b7fe0d-2D8aceb9ef15-2D1339923840&d=DwMFaQ&c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&r=Hdf8n3YCkYghf0w0iRsjXG39aVsPIyfkzyz_vs62Up8&m=r2SpyWJKGLAZV_ughY2qRPbGVuh82iIHc8MS6V6yHlg&s=lvbrh7Y7W3ghTcRm8OSwW0mLli5MeBn1F423qgJ8Pa0&e=">Dad leaveu003c/a>u003c/strong>u003c/p>nu003cp>A study of fathers found positive experiences when they were forced to take paternity leave, despite concerns over the gap in their careers. (McKinsey)u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cstrong>u003ca href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.wsj.com_articles_having-2Dtrouble-2Dgetting-2Dthe-2Dcovid-2Dvaccine-2Dyour-2Dcompany-2Dmight-2Dsoon-2Doffer-2Dit-2D11615113001-3Fmod-3Dpls-5Fwhats-5Fnews-5Fus-5Fbusiness-5Ff-26utm-5Fsource-3DReset-2BWork-2BInc.-26utm-5Fcampaign-3D8aceb9ef15-2DEMAIL-5FCAMPAIGN-5F2021-5F03-5F14-5F05-5F32-26utm-5Fmedium-3Demail-26utm-5Fterm-3D0-5F8de2b7fe0d-2D8aceb9ef15-2D1339923840&d=DwMFaQ&c=euGZstcaTDllvimEN8b7jXrwqOf-v5A_CdpgnVfiiMM&r=Hdf8n3YCkYghf0w0iRsjXG39aVsPIyfkzyz_vs62Up8&m=r2SpyWJKGLAZV_ughY2qRPbGVuh82iIHc8MS6V6yHlg&s=nC3iDD3742-QEqIHUo4ZQHUHOcuSIwf0dgt37tSR120&e=">Shot at worku003c/a>u003c/strong>u003c/p>nu003cp>Some companies have successfully registered to administer the COVID19 vaccine to their workers. 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