It’s lonely at the top. You hear that often. The hire up the ladder you climb, the fewer people you have that can relate to your problems at work. Loneliness is a growing problem and according to a recent CEO Snapshot Survey, half of CEOs experience feelings of loneliness in their role.
Work loneliness can lead to a number of problems: low energy, decrease in productivity, depression, and even a shorter lifespan.
It’s not just the C-suite that feels lonely. Employees at all levels can be affected. Technology, while great in many aspects, is a leading cause in this feeling of loneliness. So much of a person’s daily routine involves communication via technology (email, texts, or instant messaging) instead of face to face.
Here are four strategies that can help you and your team combat isolation:
1. Communicate In-Person or Over the Phone More
Face-to-face (or at the least, voice-to-voice) interaction leads to deeper connections. Instead of sending an email, try picking up the phone, or better yet, schedule a video call. While this may not always be a possibility, making the effort to hear a team member’s voice or see their face during a conversation can make a huge difference.
Try using the three-to-one rule. For every three emails you send, try making one call or scheduling one video chat, stop by a co-worker or employee’s desk, set-up an in-person meeting.
2. Cultivate Workplace Friendships
Regularly bring your employees together to socialize during or after work. This may include team lunches or happy hours (not necessarily with alcohol) after work. Encourage group activities like a team workout class or volunteer project.
Not only does this help combat loneliness, it improves company loyalty. Employees report they are more likely to stay with their company if they have friends at work.
3. Find Accountability Partners
Your business relationships don’t all have to be in your place of work. You can find people who are in a related business field, or similar position. Try finding CEO groups, local chapters of business associations or service clubs that cater to positions like yours. You can share your ups and downs with these people, feel support and understanding, all while getting an outside perspective.
4. Celebrate Achievements in Person
Someone on the team just signed a new client? The team just completed a projected? Take this opportunity to bring the team together instead of just making it a quick email. This creates a bonding experience and gives your team a chance to relax, talk, and connect.
Loneliness will continue to be a problem in the workplace as technology becomes more prevalent. Knowing how to combat loneliness will have a positive impact on both you and your team’s lives, but on the organization as a whole.