Where are the people?” resumed the little prince at last. “It’s a little lonely in the desert…” “It is lonely when you’re among people, too,” said the snake.”
Loneliness in the workplace is hard, and it can isolate you, creating a divide both you and your co-workers find more and more difficult to cross. Loneliness is also a subjective experience, so there are no "hard and fast" rules about what it looks like. Many people hide their feelings for fear of embarrassment, or because they don't want to appear weak, and this can make loneliness difficult to identify. Take faith, however. It's not all in your head, or all your fault, being lonely at work is a real concern. And you're not the only one dealing with it..
According to 2019 research, over half (53.6%) of Brits admit to suffering from loneliness in the workplace; with a further four in ten (44.4%) attributing this to having nothing in common with their colleagues. The study, which surveyed 2,000 British professionals, also found that a staggering two thirds (66.5%) of professionals aged 35-44 feel lonely at work; making them the most isolated of all age groups. This is followed by 54.8% of 18-24-year
olds, and 47.4% of 45-54-year olds.
Feeling lonely at work isn’t just problematic for the employees. It’s tough on their employers, too. Researchers found that lonely workers are twice as likely to miss a day of work due to illness than ones who aren’t lonely and they’re five times as likely to miss a day of work due to stress. And, in an average month, lonely workers think about quitting more than twice as often as non-lonely worker. We are naturally social beings, so good relationships are intrinsic to combating loneliness. Technology has a role, too. The rise of telecommuting, for example, has increasingly led people to feel "out of sight, out of mind," despite the parallel growth of social media. So, the best way for wellness in the workplace is to build a culture of connection and community.
For employers that’s about making sure their workplace culture still allows, and promotes, people to have in-person connections. Whilst the modern workplace changes that technology brings are helpful for flexibility, If you’re a remote worker, video calls with colleagues offer much more than just information-sharing; they offer virtual relationships. By not taking advantage of these, it will make it harder to breakthrough. For all employees, maintaining general health, through sleeping and eating and exercising well is important but it’s also important to think: ‘How can I engage with others at work?’”
That can mean going out to eat rather than chomping down a salad at work. Or volunteering or socializing with colleagues after hours. Leverage those opportunities. Whilst you’re not guaranteed to find life long friends, a few connections will go a long way to mitigate the sense of isolation and support a better