Thank you again for attending UnPlug's keynote at Critical TechWorks on 19th September 2023. Below are follow-up links on the background research and tools. Thanks again to Patricia, Laura and Bea for their assistance in setting up the keynote.
If you have further questions or are interested in a specific area my contact details are below.
Impact – Individual
Impact – Work
The way we work
· 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
2) Recommended learning (retreats)
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).
c) If in Portugal please goto www.telefone-amizade.pt/site/ or call 22 832 35 35
d) if in Canada, the Red Cross offer a program called "Friendly Calls" https://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/community-health-services-in-canada/friendly-calls-program
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
· Self Worth – A framework; community groups (meetup.com is a good resource and below are some examples)
Red Tent Movement (Women) https://redtentdirectory.com/
· 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. For example,
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
Andrii stayed on at the end and had a question about ADHD and whether multi-tasking makes makes it worse. As mentioned, it's very subjective and the research is still quite new but it is likely ADHD and multi-tasking aren't a great match. Here's a great article in which Gloria Mark talks about it; https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/jan/01/is-modern-life-ruining-our-powers-of-concentration
Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
The Lonely Century by Noreena Hertz
Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick
Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew Lieberman
Lost Connections by Johann Hari
The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker
Billy No-Mates by Max Dickins
Loneliness Explored - Click here
The Lonely Hour - Click here
"We ran a two-day programme with UnPlug to empower staff to upgrade their digital resilience in a hybrid world. Feedback from the team was very positive with key changes being an improvement in their ability to focus and connect with colleagues at work.”
Michael Sylver, Director Programme Management and Support Services Division, United Nations
UnPlug programme assessments in 2020-22 asking the question “can you disconnect after work” showed an average improvement of 30% with direct links to improved productivity and wellbeing.
To view a case study of an UnPlug programme and its impact please click here.
Masterclasses (small groups - design thinking, solution oriented) on;
(i) Digital Wellbeing - Individual digital habits with an introduction to frameworks that will sustain them through digital culture.
(ii) Digital Culture – Working with organisational culture / work design to develop communication charters and digital working frameworks to encourage norms and values that will support new Digital Wellbeing habits.
Individual Digital Wellbeing coaching.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
UnPlug are committed to continually improving our programmes and your suggestions will be taken into account for future training needs. Your feedback is valuable and is much appreciated. To complete our quick feedback survey either click on the following QR code or link;