How can employers show their employees their appreciation this year without holiday parties—or, in many cases, even gifts or bonuses?
Give them an unexpected paid day off and ask them to unplug. Work days have gotten longer during the pandemic. There is no better gift than time. An added bonus is that time off can increase creativity and productivity.
How can families and friends keep their connections strong without in-person holiday gatherings?
Picking up the phone can be almost as good as a hug. Hearing the voice of a loved one has an effect similar to touch during difficult times. It reduces cortisol levels, which are a biomarker of stress, and increases oxytocin levels. Text messages don’t produce the same effect.
We are hearing a lot about “Zoom fatigue.” Are there ways to improve virtual interaction so that we can stay engaged for months or years?
Video conferencing doesn’t seem to be helping us stay connected. In a recent study, Balázs Kovacs, Nicholas Caplan, Sammy Grob, and I found that non-face-to-face communication—such as video conferencing and text-based exchanges—haven’t reduced loneliness during the pandemic. What does seem to guard against loneliness is having five or more very close relationships. It is our inner circle that will get us through the pandemic.