BACKGROUND & CHALLENGE
BACKGROUND: The emerging remote and liquid workforce
The workforce is becoming more flexible not only geographically but also organisationally.
As we know, the Coronavirus pandemic sparked the irreversible shift towards remote work. In addition, we now see a workforce that is involved in multiple projects at the same time or those who develop their career switching projects or organisations that they are engaged in flexibly like liquid.
In the near future, we will be working on multiple projects from anywhere simultaneously, moving from one organisation to another more frequently.
As new workstyles emerge, so do new challenges. Among a number of challenges around remote and liquid workforce, loneliness is one of the biggest but still underestimated despite its significant negative impact not only on our health but also on the team bonds, morale and performance.
Loneliness is an urgent issue to address for the remote and liquid workforce, particularly in terms of the following three aspects.
1. Journeys into loneliness will likely begin during the transition and change, such as starting a new career. As a liquid workforce experiences change more often, they are more vulnerable to loneliness.
2. Loneliness causes a strong down cycle in relationships. Once we become lonely, we will be overly critical of ourselves and those around us and start self-defeating behaviour that diminishes our current connection. Although it's significantly important to detect signs in the early stages for prevention of down cycle, remote working settings make it difficult since we're physically separated and hardly see others' faces.
3. Loneliness is contagious. A person who is lonely affects other people around to lonely. It means if someone in the team becomes lonely, other members can be lonely too, and eventually, it impacts the whole team negatively, such as low morale.