Loneliness and the Work World
Advice for Businesses to Combat Loneliness
Whether employees are working on-site, hybrid, or remotely, loneliness at work is an increasing challenge many individuals and their businesses are facing (though perhaps its felt most by remote employees). What employers may not realize is that this is hurting bottom line and productivity by causing higher rates of burnout and turnover.
Let’s talk about loneliness and building a culture of inclusion, especially in a world where many of our co-workers are half a continent away. Watch the video below with Peak Performers’ Nick Bergen.
Key Stats about Loneliness
- 36% of Americans feel loneliness at work on a regular basis
- 61% of young adults feel loneliness regularly
- 51% of mothers with small children feel lonely
Loneliness affects a lot of people. These statistics have drastically increased since 2014 and the COVID-19 lockdowns have accelerated the trend even more.
Despite the amount of connectivity we all have access too, many people are feeling more disconnected than before.
Why should you care as a business?
While this may feel like something that’s “not your problem” this can adversely affect productivity, employee engagement, and retention.
Employee engagement is most drastically affected by loneliness. If someone is feeling lonely, they are much more likely to disconnect at work. Employees want to like who they work with and seek social engagement in their work.
And when someone is feeling lonely their productivity tends to decrease. Additionally, they’re more likely to turn over or “quietly quit.”
When we talk about company culture, it’s important to recognize that for most people company culture is the people and the experience of going to work.
What can businesses do to positively impact company culture and loneliness?
First off, understand that socialization happening at work is not a drain or something that needs to be punished. Time spent around the proverbial “water cooler” is time well spent to increase a culture of inclusion and improve company culture
It can also be helpful to implement an employee wellness program. Many such programs focus solely on physical health but having a social and mental health component can help with employee loneliness.
Also make sure to include all of your employees in company events and social activities wherever possible. Be on the lookout for those who are most socially disconnected and make a concerted effort to include them
Finally, strive to make your workplace more inclusive by including more people of various different background. It’s important to remember that hiring just one person from a representative group is not enough for true inclusion and it helps to avoid multiple people from various diverse groups to mitigate “tokenship” effects.