Lonely At Work? You’re Not Alone
The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.
This week, John and Rachel discuss a Journal of Accountancy article, “Lonely At Work? You’re Not Alone” by Matthew Dees.
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Happy Monday. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices. On the other line is the Accountants Group Leader in Canada for Sage, Rachel Fisch.
Rachel: Hello. How are you, John?
John: Really, really good. Really good. How about you?
Rachel: Good. Really good. I just had a crazy couple of weeks on the road, and now I’m home.
John: Awesome. Really nice. Doing that work-life balance back into check. No, I’m just kidding.
Rachel: Wait, wait, wait, let’s not push it.
John: Exactly. But we always come together every Monday and talk through an article that we find online. This one was in the Journal of Accountancy, an article by Matthew Dees, and it was “Lonely at work? You’re not alone.” You see the irony there? You’re not alone. It was pretty interesting just about how there was a recent survey done by a coaching firm called BetterUp in the Harvard Business Review. Over 1,600 employees were surveyed, and they found that lonely workers receive fewer promotions, switch jobs more often, and are more likely to quit in the next six months.
Rachel: Which makes sense because I think that we as humans crave connection. So your whole Green Apple message, talking about bringing your hobbies and passions into the workplace, just allows us to connect that much better. If people haven’t heard you speak, then they don’t know that’s a thing, John.
John: Right, even though it’s in their brain, that’s what they want to have happen.
John: They’re just scared to open up and be vulnerable, not realizing that those vulnerabilities are actually your strengths than your differentiators. We’re not in sixth grade anymore, so you’re not going to get stuck in a locker and poked. Well, okay, maybe that was just me. But this is the part where it’s about you, Rachel. It says, “Employees under 30 were 19%…”
Rachel: Yeah, times two in that will be me.
John: It only feels like it after the road.
Rachel: Yeah, a little bit.
John: But employees under 30, 19% more likely to feel lonely at work come compared to their older counterparts. That’s crazy.
Rachel: Well, I’d be interested to know, are these new employees — because I think that it is certainly difficult to kind of break into the culture of an existing workplace when you’re the new kid, right?
Rachel: So one thing that I’ve seen a lot of employers do is kind of have a bit of a buddy system so that when a new employee is starting, they can connect them with somebody else to kind of show them the ropes and all of the things that maybe aren’t in the handbook, like where the coffee station is and what people usually do or don’t do within the course of a day. Where I’ve also seen it is that when you get to know what people’s passions and hobbies are, you can actually connect them with somebody who already exists there that has a similar hobby and passion. Not sure if you knew that people are doing that, or maybe you started it, I don’t know,
John: I didn’t start it, but I encourage it wholeheartedly.
Rachel: For sure, because if you can connect people on a level outside of work, then there’s a level of connection that they’re really not going to experience elsewhere. But then it will make them look forward to coming into work and connecting with everybody else.
John: Yeah, yeah, because that person isn’t just a buddy; that person is now a friend. So you’re able to connect on much more than just work and where coffee is and the good lunch places that are around here or where to get extra paper in case the copy machine is out or whatever. It’s actually a friend that you can talk to about something besides all that work stuff, which is fantastic.
They also said some other examples here. It really relies on the managers and the leaders, team leaders, to recognize if people are kind of isolated or signs of loneliness or whatever but to kind of just go out of your way to be genuinely interested in them and what makes them tick and what do they like to do and what are they interested in. Because if you show interest in people, they’re just going to reciprocate back. It’s just a natural thing that that’s the way humans are built to have that happen. Plan some social activities outside the office, something that everyone can do, everyone can participate in. But also, it’s pretty generic so then people don’t feel like, “Well, I don’t golf” or “I don’t,” whatever, “so I’m not going to go” type of thing. So it’s just getting it like that and then getting it outside the office so that then people are able to let their guard down and just be a little more authentic really helps create those connections.
Rachel: Yeah, for sure. So I like that they kind of give a few tips for what the employer could do to maybe recognize and to do things about it. But then it also gives some tips on “Look, if you’re feeling kind of alone, here are some things that you can be doing as well.”
John: So what should I do, Rachel? What should I do?
Rachel: So John, you should ask questions.
John: I just did. I’m already ahead of the curve.
Rachel: Awesome! You should go beyond small talk, reach outside of your inner circle, and think about how you could make a difference that your coworkers and team would love.
John: That last part reminds me of Stacy Mueller, who was on the Green Apple Podcast, who bakes cakes for people’s birthdays or brings in gingerbread houses or crazy cool stuff. If you bring in baked goods, I promise that you have all the friends in the whole office.
Rachel: You have a lineup of people wanting to be your friends.
John: Totally, totally. She is not lonely at all. I’m not using her as an example like that. I’m using her as an awesome example of someone that makes a difference in her coworkers’ lives and does something that everybody loves. So it’s something that simple. Yeah, absolutely. So hopefully, this helps out. If anybody listening is lonely, reach out to Rachel because she’s got… Just kidding.
Rachel: A friend to all.
John: Just kidding. I’m here too. You can follow us on Twitter. I’m @RecoveringCPA and Rachel is @FischBooks. Don’t forget to hit Subscribe so you catch us every week and also every Wednesday an interview with someone that has an interesting hobby or passion or even a not interesting hobby or passion, but they have one. So we talk about it, and it’s always a lot of fun. So that works, Rachel. Have a good week at home. We’ll talk to you next Monday.
Rachel: Yeah. Sounds good. Talk to you later, John.