This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

Technology today presents us with a paradox, both as consumers and professionals. Increasingly, the productivity and communication tools we’ve become so reliant on are negatively affecting our well-being and personal development and hindering our professional growth. While most of us are constantly connected by technology, an alarming number of people feel more disconnected and isolated than ever.

One place where technology’s unintended consequences can be most dramatically felt is the business world. The challenges of two years of the pandemic have left people wanting authentic connection in all parts of their lives, including with the companies they do business with. Customers are no longer buying on brand, product, or price alone. They’re demanding more than a transaction—they want a relationship, and the conveniences that technology provides aren’t enough to fill the gap. At the same time, employees are buckling under a growing epidemic of stress and burnout, which is driving The Great Resignation. 

This combination of forces — greater expectations from consumers and increased burnout from employees — is why companies have seen the lifelong loyalty they thought they’d earned disappear with little more than a tap in an app. Employees and customers alike are unplugging from companies who refuse to care about them.

The most common response by big business to market challenges like these is to double down on efficiency, even if it means de-emphasizing customer or employee experience. Make things faster or cheaper than the competition, the thinking goes, and better business outcomes will follow. 

That’s exactly the wrong approach — one that was outdated even before the pandemic began. 

What the world needs now is empathy-driven innovation. What if empathy — a company creating an employee and customer experience by putting itself in its employee’s or customer’s shoes and relating to their unique experience — drove successful business outcomes more than simply focusing on efficiency? 

Everything changes when companies make the conscious decision to design person-centric instead of business-centric experiences around empathy for their employees and customers. Efficiency and effectiveness then become loyalty-creating metrics instead of cost-cutting measures, and empathy emerges as an exponential force multiplier.

The old ways are dying. Organizations that invest time and resources into driving short-term, company-focused efficiency and effectiveness without empathy will fail to survive in this new, incredibly interconnected era. 

No matter the industry, empathy can and will be the defining variable that creates trust. And trust builds loyalty.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change how businesses operate. Fundamentally. Empathy, not efficiency, is the answer to burnout and the way for companies to avoid finding themselves on the losing end of The Great Resignation. It’s also one of the most underleveraged assets in building meaningful connections with consumers.

We won’t solve talent attrition with more technology that only drives people to work faster and deliver more work. Flexibility, paid time off and work perks are great, but businesses need to go further. Well-being is not a perk — it needs to be embedded into the workflow itself. That’s the only way to prevent stress from becoming cumulative, which is incredibly damaging to health and well-being. As dangerous as cumulative stress is, the solution is deceptively simple: Take short breaks throughout the day. Neuroscience shows that even 60- to 90-second breaks are enough to break the cycle of cumulative stress. 

One example of putting this into practice is a first-of-its kind solution by Thrive and Genesys, a software company that specializes in cloud customer experience orchestration. The solution delivers science-backed, 60-second “Resets” to contact-center agents at companies that use Genesys software — in real time when they need it most. In addition to improving agents’ well-being, allowing them to reset in real time empowers them to create a more empathetic connection with customers.

Companies need more human-focused technology with empathy as the purpose — not efficiency. We’re calling on businesses to rebuild their relationships with their employees and create a workplace that puts employee well-being front and center.

With the right focus on what really matters most, we can use technology to de-stress, unclutter, reset and recharge. We can rebuild the relationships that are critical for all of us to live healthy and productive lives. And by tapping into our empathy, we can create experiences that bring us together like never before.

Author(s)

  • Arianna Huffington

    Founder & CEO of Thrive

    Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In 2016, she launched Thrive, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. She has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on numerous boards, including Onex and The B Team. Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers. Most recently, she wrote the foreword to Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps.

  • Tony Bates

    Chairman and CEO of Genesys

    Tony Bates is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genesys. He leads the company’s strategy, direction and operations in more than 100 countries and oversees a global team of more than 5,000 employees. Tony has decades of experience steering business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies through major market transitions and rapid scaling. A passionate technologist at heart, Tony began his career in network operations and internet infrastructure, teaching himself to code during his daily train commute. He swiftly gained the business acumen to advance into trusted executive roles at some of the world’s most respected global SaaS companies. Career highlights include leading Cisco’s Service Provider business, growing its Enterprise and Commercial division to more than $20 billion in annual revenue and serving as CEO of Skype, where he was responsible for expanding the business to over 170 million connected users. Once Skype was acquired by Microsoft, Tony became president where he was responsible for unified communications before serving as executive vice president of business development and developers. In addition to his role at Genesys, Tony continues to serve on the board of directors at both VMWare and eBay.