Melinda Gates a SXSW discussing the future of work

One of the meta-trends this year at SXSW 2018 was that of human connection. With the rise of connectedness through technology, the need for play, escape and real experience, away from a screen has grown. Despite having more access to each other, we are feeling lonelier than ever and it’s having a negative impact on our health, our success and our future.

We spend 90% of our time indoors, and most of it is spent on our phones or connected to the internet, immersed at work, even if we’re not at work. This isn’t just bad for our health; it’s also bad for business.

We spend more waking hours with our co-workers than we do with our families, but do we have strong social connections with them? Do we really know them?

Researchers for Gallup found that many employees expect their job to be more than just a paycheck. People need connections and will seek out and stay at organisations that have exceptional workplace culture.

Investing time and resources into developing trust, honesty and friendship amongst employees is paramount to wellbeing and productivity within the business. Companies have the power to drive change at a societal level, and more than that, they have a responsibility to do so.

What you can do in your workplace:

  • Put on a mental health class — find out what signs to look for and discuss it openly
  • Foster real experience through out of work group activities e.g. volunteering, or simply going for a meal together
  • Make improvements to your environment e.g. buy some plants, recycle, use non-toxic cleaning materials
  • Ask people what their inspiration and passions are outside of work, you can do this through short weekly presentations or events

“We are in a loneliness epidemic and the only cure is connection.”
– Liz Elam, Founder of GCUC