This Is Your Brain on Remote Work


(Link to the article)


The psychological stress of remote work is not just speculation or context-swapping – it’s real, measurable, and stems directly from an environment where interpersonal communication is hard to come by. Small interactions, like a handshake, communicate big things, like someone’s willingness to coordinate on a plan. In many cases, these don’t yet have substitutes in the remote world.

Key Takeaways

  • This article quantifies a lot of the studied concerns related to remote work and associated behavior
  • One particularly interesting thing revolves around the handshake as an indicator of someone’s willingness to coordinate. These interactions, however small, are difficult to replicate. How might they be facilitated?
  • This also illustrates a research-based need more than a solution to a problem.


  • How does remote work actually affect the brain — and how might that affect a company’s operations? Do we lose productivity if we’re digitally connected but physically alone?
  • It turns out that remote workers can build relationships and communicate just as effectively as they can in an office.
  • They noted that “strangers meeting in text-based environments show higher affinity for one another than strangers meeting one another face to face.”
  • Leaders need to pay extra attention to these workers right now who could be feeling isolated.
  • One study found that negotiators who shook hands achieved better outcomes. Negotiating parties who shook hands were also less likely to lie, according to the researchers.
  • A 2017 University of Texas McCombs School of Business study found that your cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when your smartphone is nearby, even if you’re not using it.
  • A recent study by NordVPN Teams found that people in the United States are logging on for an additional three hours of work per day


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