Firstly, a big thank you to Tyler Shores and the team at both the Thinklab and Pitt Building for facilitating the talk.
Please note we are updating our website in the next month so the below is in a simple format. If there are any areas of content you’d like more information on please email email@example.com. For updates feel free to follow Chris Flack on linkedin (here)
Impact – Individual
Harvard Grant Study – Social Connection is the #1 predictor of life satisfaction
Loneliness makes you 26% more likely to die;
Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Baker M, Harris T, Stephenson D. Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2015 Mar;10(2):227-37. doi: 10.1177/1745691614568352. PMID: 25910392.
References to multiple studies showing link to improving recovery from Cancer
Impact – Work
Article with links to studies showing improvement in wellbeing, performance and retention https://hbr.org/2019/12/the-value-of-belonging-at-work
Microsoft Work Index showing positive impact of strong work relationships
The way we work
Screens vs in-person
First review of the largest current longitudinal study on workplace loneliness with the following quote;
“Neuroscience research has found that only in-person interactions trigger the full suite of physiological responses and neural sychronisation required for optimal human communication and trust, and that digital channels such as video conferencing disrupt our process of communicative information.”
Knight, C., Olaru, D., Lee, J.-A., & Parker, S. (2022, May 2). The loneliness of the hybrid worker. MIT Sloan Management Review. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-loneliness-of-the-hybrid-worker/
· Loneliness a bodily function, just like hunger
· 1/3 of people in the western world are lonely – https://www.statista.com/statistics/1222815/loneliness-among-adults-by-country/
· It has a major impact on individuals, organisations and society (can lead to polarisation)
· How to spot the signs i.e.. awareness of loneliness loop – Quote from Brene Brown – “When we feel isolated, disconnected, and lonely, we try to protect ourselves. In that mode, we want to connect but our brain is attempting to override connection with self protection. That means less empathy, more defensiveness, more numbing, and less sleeping……Unchecked loneliness fuels continued loneliness by keeping us afraid to reach out”. Key research on the loneliness loop; Louise C. Hawkley, Ph.D., John T. Cacioppo, Ph.D., Loneliness Matters: A Theoretical and Empirical Review of Consequences and Mechanisms, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 40, Issue 2, October 2010, Pages 218–227, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-010-9210-8
· Brain Health – Exercise and Rest (sleep / meditation / quiet time) can help reorient reward centres to more healthy behaviour.
· Connect with yourself
1) Recommended meditation (Chris Flack teaching a meditation via the free app Insight Timer) – https://insighttimer.com/chrisflack/guided-meditations/self-tonglen-compassion-considering-ourselves-with-two-aspects
3) Recommended learning (books) – Conor Creighton – The Truth about Love https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0717194000/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_T7HNYR437G3ZM57NHG12?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
4) Recommended apps – DailyHaloha is a great app to encourage reflection and empathy https://dailyhaloha.com/
· Be kind to yourself
If you feel lonely find someone to talk to about it. Remember you are not alone, many people feel lonely, if no-one is available to chat then;
a) if in the UK, lots of resources listed at https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/feelings-and-symptoms/feeling-lonely/
b) if in Ireland goto www.text50808.ie (a free, anonymous, 24/7 messaging service providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support).
If seeking professional help, research suggests that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a good place to start.
· Individual change – Self Worth
If you think your friend /colleague is lonely
Try not to ask them if they want help
Ask them to help you
· Self Worth – A framework; volunteering
UK www.doit.life / Ireland www.volunteering.ie
· Self Worth – A framework; community groups (meetup.com is a good resource and below are some examples)
· Digital Habits
Social Media impact on mental health – Meier, Adrian & Reinecke, Leonard. (2021). Computer-Mediated Communication, Social Media, and Mental Health: A Conceptual and Empirical Meta-Review. Communication Research. 48. 1182–1209. 10.1177/0093650220958224.
· iPhone Effect study
Misra, S., Cheng, L., Genevie, J., & Yuan, M. (2016). The iPhone Effect: The Quality of In-Person Social Interactions in the Presence of Mobile Devices. Environment and Behavior, 48(2), 275–298. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916514539755
· Increase friction with tech – Have an “UnPlug Zone” for small periods of time in certain rooms. For example, no devices in certain meetings.
· Decrease friction with humans – Try to remove all friction eg even airpods when walking passed others to enable a more open connection.
UnPlug has a Digital Resilience assessment available here (check your organisation’s ability to cope with increasing digital demands)
· Organisational framework for change
Importance of “togetherness” in company culture
If you build it, they might come e.g. free food in the canteen
If they build it, they will come e.g. cooking classes for teams each quarter
· Firefighters that make food and eat together outperform colleagues
Kniffin, K. M., Wansink, B., Devine, C. M., & Sobal, J. (2015). Eating Together at the Firehouse: How Workplace Commensality Relates to the Performance of Firefighters. Human performance, 28(4), 281–306. https://doi.org/10.1080/08959285.2015.1021049
· Encourage Collaboration – Atlassian Performance Review based on Collaboration
· Encourage Kindness – Cisco People Deal
· Importance of weak ties
Thanks for attending. Along with this subject, UnPlug run evidence-based programmes, coaching and advisory services on the following;
Introduction to Digital Wellbeing with key techniques to work smarter in an always-on world.
Taking effective breaks both inside and outside the office.
With potential ”Right to Disconnect” legislation, this programme gives an introduction as to the organisation can review and develop “Digital Culture” (how we work collectively with technology).
How to manage the blurred boundaries between work and family when remote working.