Technology has become a major component of our personal and professional lives. We rely on it to manage our time, communicate, do business, and automate tasks. Although we need it to function in our daily lives, the digital disconnect creates a sense of isolation and damaging effects on employees’ mental health.
What Is Digital Disconnect?
Many people enjoy the convenience of working from home. However, this also means there are fewer social interactions with real people. Working through digital channels may be convenient, but it creates a sense of disconnection from the physical work environment, the resolution process, their service providers, and humans in general.
Humans are social creatures by nature, and we need interactions with other people. When people have less human interaction, it isolates us from one another and creates a digital disconnect.
How Does It Affect Your Mental Health?
Although the effects of digital disconnect are not immediate, many people notice the toll it takes over time. With the massive shift in the labor force, more remote workers report greater feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. And since it takes longer to come to resolutions, workers feel less effective and less valued.
While these factors reduce productivity and efficiency, it also reveals a deeper problem. Employees no longer feel like they are part of a community or the company culture. They rarely have opportunities to see coworkers or supervisors outside formal environments. Fewer face-to-face interactions leave less opportunity for inclusion and drive the wedge even deeper between the company’s leadership and the rest of its employees.
3 Ways to Support Your Employees through Digital Disconnect
People need to feel like they are part of something greater. Even if we aren’t sharing a physical workspace, we can still reach out and connect with coworkers. Rather than looking at the obstacle, the experts at P3 show you how to use the digital tools to your advantage to enhance interactions and curb the negative effects of digital disconnection.
- Find ways to replicate face-to-face interactions.
The first way companies attempt to bridge the disconnect is by trying to recreate social interactions. You can use webcams to personalize calls and meetings. Another option is to use internal messaging and chats to initiate private conversations. However, trainers find that it is most crucial to reach out to new employees, especially as they transition from training to the sales floor. This can help them feel more connected to their peers and improve retention rates.
- Create a stronger support network.
Creating an inclusive culture starts by building your support network. Encourage peer-to-peer relationships and facilitate interactions among team members. Managers can also assign mentors who can answer questions and help them learn the ropes as they get started, or offer additional training to anyone who is struggling. While an open-door policy is great, most people need more encouragement to speak up when they need help.
- Facilitate resources for those who need professional help.
Those who are suffering from severe depression or other mental health concerns may need to seek professional help. If you see someone who is suffering from the signs of poor mental health, remind them that it takes strength to get help. You can also go one step further to get them in touch with counselors within the company or local health care networks to find a licensed professional.
As businesses adapt to technological advances, people must also learn how to cope with the digital disconnect. However, you can’t overlook the digital tools at your disposal. Use them to create new communication loops and open new avenues to engage remote employees. Thriving in a virtual or hybrid environment requires you to adapt your management style and use everything at your disposal. However, if you feel too far removed and don’t know where to start, the consultants and P3 can devise a plan to help you support both your employees and your business as it continues to grow.