I Celebrated My Book Launch Alone: How Remote Work Can Leave Us Feeling Disconnected


Monday was a big day for me. My new book, Generation Why – How Boomers Can Lead and Learn from Millennials and Gen Z, was released. As an author, it’s a day that only comes around every few years, and it surely is one to be celebrated. So, I went to work on May 1st in high spirits, ready to revel in the success of my latest publication. However, to my surprise, the place was nearly empty.

I was the only professor present on the third floor of McGill’s Bronfman Building. There was no one on the second or fourth floor, and only two people on the fifth floor that I knew. Not a single student was in sight.

This was so different from past, where there would be plenty of colleagues and students to celebrate with.

Of course, I understand that this time of year is typically quiet. Exams ended last week, and new classes have yet to start. However, with so many people working from home, the quietness seems amplified.

Now, this time of semester is usually quiet in any given year as exams ended last week, and new classes yet to start. But with so many people working from home, the quietness seems to have reached new heights. As an extravert, I was ready to celebrate, but instead, I went home feeling a bit flat.

Before leaving home that morning, I posted on LinkedIn about my new book, which received thousands of views and a rather impressive number of likes. I appreciated the digital support, but it’s not quite the same as being high-fived or receiving a congratulatory smile from a longtime colleague or having a lively chat about what I am arguing in the book.

Yesterday I had a great conversation with my friend Jiro and he gave me a couple of ideas I plan on using in press interviews. In the past, such interactions would happen throughout the day, leaving me feeling energized and inspired by the end of the day—a true extraverted characteristic.

While remote work provides many benefits such as increased flexibility and autonomy, it can also lead to feelings of isolation and even disconnection from colleagues.

CEOs are increasingly concerned about the loneliness epidemic and its impact on employees, as highlighted by Starbucks’ Laxman Narasimhan and Airbnb’s Brian Chesky, reports the Financial Times.

I miss the human connection that comes with face-to-face interactions. It makes a real difference. It’s possible that we may do a book launch in September when faculty, administration, and students fill up the building again. That would be great, but we’ll have to see if it works out.

So, what do we do? We need to celebrate our colleagues and their accomplishments. As someone who values words of appreciation, I particularly miss that aspect. However, there are ways to show appreciation virtually.

So what do we do? We need to celebrate our colleagues, their successes, and accomplishments. As someone who especially values words of appreciation, I particularly miss that aspect. However, there are ways to show appreciation virtually, as describe the Five Languages of Appreciation.

Our Strategy & Organization area at McGill has started sending a good news email on Fridays, where one of our colleagues, Daphne, does a fantastic job of helping us celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

A survey by Glassdoor found that 81% of employees feel motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. Celebrating accomplishments with colleagues can also improve morale and foster a sense of community within the workplace.

A study by Globoforce found that 78% of employees who are recognized for their work feel a strong sense of motivation and engagement. It’s vital for leaders to encourage these interactions, and remember that acknowledging and celebrating each other’s successes can go a long way in creating a positive work environment, especially in the work-from-home era.

MORE FROM FORBESThe 5 Languages Of Appreciation At Work

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