The loneliness of modern office team members


Every other week or so, a number emerges somewhere in the world that I find both understandable and troublesome.

This is the percentage of people who consistently say they don’t want to go back to working full time in the office. About 60 per cent of British workers said they came back that way In September Last year and In March This year, though More than a third By then the UK population had at least one cowardly jab.

In the United States, the share of workers who would prefer to continue working as far away as possible is gone 35 percent January to September at 44 percent. More recent European research It found that 97 percent of people who were at home would prefer to stay there for at least part of the week after their offices reopened.

Since I am one of the millions of people who have been able to get out of the hut ride and the presenter’s tedium, these discoveries seem absolutely plausible. But they are also concerned because there is a dark reason why even highly-valued people can’t rush to the office: long before the outbreak they were alone.

Their relationship with the people in the office seemed shallow. Worst of all, their isolated team may have less work to do with their personal lives than the way their work was organized.

A look is made from it Study Writes Mark Mortensen, an associate professor of organizational behavior at the Inside Business School in France, and Constance Hadley, an organizational psychologist at Boston University’s Questram School of Business.

Mortensen said the Kovid outbreak had left them frustrated after conducting hundreds of worldwide executive surveys just before the worldwide vacated offices. Although executives belong to an average of three groups, about 80 percent say they have struggled to communicate with members of other parties, and 56 percent think they find their social relationships to be ineffective.

One reason, researchers say, is that there has been a dramatic change since the teams began replacing the work structure of the traditional theatrical classification more than 30 years ago.

Previously, one could expect people in the same group to work in a team of manageable size by doing much the same work for a relatively long time.

But with corporate work becoming more global and 24-hour ahead, teams are expected to be bigger, more nuanced and more affordable. Depending on what skills are required for a particular project, people join for the briefing period, then start traveling elsewhere. Or they share work with others in different time zones, so projects can be done within twenty-four hours, or part-time work can be done in several teams at once.

All of this is good for the flexibility and efficiency of an organization, but not very good for people who may struggle to name each member of their team.

“I don’t know who’s on my team,” one executive told researchers. “Every Monday, someone comes and tells me he’s been given something and another boy who worked on it just before he left.”

“I’m interchangeable,” said another. “They made it so that anyone on the team could do my job. Maybe they will miss me, but I’m not so sure.

The epidemic has clearly exacerbated the lack of camaraderie, but this study suggests that putting everyone back in office will not completely solve the problem. Hybrids can make things work better, Mortensen told me last week, because people will work differently on different schedules.

“It’s a problem that exists as long as shift work is going on. We’ve seen it in factories for the last 50 years or so, but suddenly it’s something we’ve started to see more about, hybrid work and flex time and Thanks for the kind of thing, even the work of knowledge. “

What can be done? Mortensen and Hadley said the first thing to do is determine whether loneliness exists. If so, think about building a core team with a common goal over the years, not weeks. Also, make sure team leaders understand that workplace loneliness can be structural, not personal, so that people don’t solve it on their own. Finally, don’t expect it to disappear as everyone returns to the office.

pilaita.clark@ft.com

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