Isolation in the Workplace
Many lifetimes ago I worked at a technology startup (one of many). We officed in a two-story building; all the engineers, technical people and the Founder (who was also considered technical) were on the main level. I was the marketing person but wore many hats in the organization. I was on the second floor. By myself. There was not one other person officing upstairs with me. There was never another time in my life in which I felt so isolated, unmotivated and uncreative. Not to mention it wasn’t fun at all. People rarely came up to my workspace. When I went downstairs to collaborate with the technical people, well let’s just say I wasn’t part of their tribe. In short, I dreaded going into work every day. And anyone who knows me knows that isn’t me at all.
I shared my frustrations with the Founder, how it was impacting productivity and morale. I offered up a few different options as to how we could deal with the situation, making it a win-win for everyone. He wasn’t able to wrap his head around the impact this “living situation” was having on his organization. I left the company.
A Culture of Connection
Today, with remote workers, technology, flexible hours, people working from different time zones, etc. it is easy for your employees to get disconnected from one another and disenfranchised from the company as a whole. The sense of belonging can evaporate, as can the sense of purpose for working for the establishment at all.
Meet with your leadership team and evaluate how your work environments stacks up. Is it easy for people to connect with one another either in-person, via video chat or, however? Do your people look forward to coming into work? Do they like the setup and feel that it is easy to reach out and collaborate with others on the team, regardless of where they are physically located?
In my situation, the lack of connection and not feeling like I was part of the team drove me away. It was a culture that didn’t work for me. Some people are okay to work in their office all day and have someone slide pizza under the door every now and then, but that isn’t for everyone.
Look at your team in its entirety and see how connectivity is impacting your culture.
By Blair Koch