Three Actions You Can Take to Make Life Better for Employees and Your Organization

I started doing hybrid work 20 years ago.

The chairman of my largest client told me I had to come into the office three days a week. Although he didn’t say so, it was clear he thought I’d be goofing off if I weren’t sitting behind a desk where he could check on me.

I quickly discovered those three days were the least productive of my week. After a while, when the chairman was convinced I’d work no matter where I was, months would go by between my office visits.

It turns out I’m not that unique. This is the experience that most organizations are having with hybrid and remote workers. (You’ll find some statistics in the video below.)

What has emerged as a valid issue is how people feel about loneliness at work.

It won’t surprise you that lonely employees are less satisfied with their jobs. They’re also more likely to quit within the next six months, leaving you with a talent drain and the costs of trying to replace them in a tight market.

How can you tell if this is happening? Watch for these symptoms:

  1. Stop offering ideas, input or feedback
  2. Start skipping meetings
  3. Start taking more sick days or change their schedule (working at times when others aren’t, further minimizing contact with people)
  4. Miss deadlines or start handing in sloppy work
  5. Stop collaborating with team members
  6. Only talk about work
  7. Aren’t interested in career development discussions

When you check in (not up) on individual employees, know that these are among their biggest remote and hybrid issues: 1) feeling like they can’t unplug from work, 2) distractions at home, 3) not feeling like they can take a vacation, 4) being in a different time zone than other team members, 5) not having the correct equipment or good WIFI, and 6) having trouble staying motivated.

It’s important to listen for understanding and empathy. After hearing what they say, it can help to share your own struggles with remote and hybrid work. That can create a bond so they feel less alone.

The only cure for loneliness is genuine care and concern. This is the most meaningful gift a leader can give.