Social Loafing & Reintegration Anxiety

horses eating

I’m not one for anthropomorphising the facial expressions of animals for mild humour to make a tenuous point for a business audience but these horses in the picture above  look like when you’re on time for the morning tea shout and these dudes got in early and they know THEY just ate the last doughnut that YOU like. Same guys don’t clean the microwave and walk away covertly when the copier flashes ‘replace toner cartridge’.

It’s known as ‘social loafing’. In working from home (wfhlife ) during lockdown some of us haven’t had to deal with these folk for a while. New Zealand’s lockdown shifted down a gear so many workplace teams got physically back together. This sort of thing can create a reaction known as reintegration anxiety. Terry Waite, a famous former hostage held in Iran wrote about it extensively. Normally, reintegration anxiety is expected and experienced by a small number of predictable people at the same time. But, we’re not looking at that sort, we’re looking at the different unexpected ways your entire team might react, and what you can do to mitigate them.

It’s not the big things that make stresses turn into fractures, it’s the straws that break the camel’s back. (Look, I know, ideally, I would’ve used a picture of two camels but I only have horses. In a lockdown, you make do with what you have).

1. Do buy doughnuts partly for their own sake but also as a signal that you’re on the alert that this is a time fraught with potential issues (or doughnut equivalents – your idea of a treat is not everyone’s)

2. Maybe deliver them individually with a personal message?(Checking in on folks privately as you do)

3. Be on the lookout early for social loafing behaviours.(Or other behaviours indicative of people’s anxiety)

4. Provide corrective feedback early and privately, specifying why it’s important.

As leaders, the little things you do now will be disproportionately remembered…

I’m trialling a self-directed course I’ve developed on personal effectiveness. One of the ten lessons within it is on conflict management, a critical element of which is early intervention (what I call ‘behavioural physics’). You get all five of my books (in eBook format) when you sign up. If that sounds of interest, you can learn more at .

All 5 3D

#onlinelearning #onlinetraining #personaleffectiveness #personalproductivity #productivity

Expert trainer / coach / speaker. Interactively online or in-person. Fast-track your personal & professional effectiveness or leadership development with practical business tools and thought leadership.

About Terry Williams - The Brain-Based Boss

I'm all about engaging people and helping you engage yours to influence behaviour to improve results - at work and at home. Maybe you're a manager, a salesperson, a leader, a parent, a presenter or an event organiser? You need to grab your people's attention, create some rapport, be memorable and influence behaviour change. How can we do that? I'm originally a trainer by trade, turned manager, turned comedian and partway back again. Author of 'THE GUIDE: How to kiss, get a job & other stuff you need to know', I write and speak about how to engage people, be they employees, family or yourself. How can we connect with people’s own internal motivations and help them use their own inner passions to drive towards productivity, success and happiness? And hopefully have a few laughs along the way... As a trainer facilitating learning and development in others, I find myself drawing on my own extensive business experience. I specialise in the delivery of high impact, customised training solutions for organisations that are serious about improving the performance and lives of their people.

Posted on July 13, 2020, in Employee Engagement. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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