A recent survey conducted by Glassdoor Economic Research, highlighted that over half (58%) of the participants with less than 5 years of work experience felt lonely all or most of the time. Due to Covid and the increase of flexible and hybrid working, this has had a huge impact on workplace social lives and personal interactions within the workplace. Bridging the gap between people is challenging, and organisations should be acknowledging this issue. 

Loneliness can be created from lack of in- person interaction, insufficient support from colleagues and inflexibility in the workplace. The survey noted that employees are having difficulties building meaningful connections at work. 1 in 4 believe that their workplace is more antisocial than during pre-pandemic times. This lack of social interaction has been found to impact employee’s productivity, engagement levels and could increase stress and anxiety. Lonely employees may self-isolate themselves and have little interaction with colleagues, which could have a negative impact on their wellbeing and mental health.

Glassdoor highlighted that 20% of the participants would stay working in a job they did not like due to workplace friendships and an active social life. This further jumped to 28% for employees under 35. Therefore, this highlights the connection between the combatting of loneliness and workplace retention. 

How to deal with Loneliness in the Workplace: 

  • Creating a sense of belonging and community by building a positive workplace culture. Organisational strategies, ‘psychological safety’ and building trust in your team. 
  • Leaders should be setting an example and promoting positive behaviours. For example, by adding meetups/social time to the agenda, and removing any barriers to people meeting up. This could be as simple as arranging a day where all colleagues are in the office or workspace together. 
  • Creating effective communication channels and a safe environment for employees to reach out regarding how they feel, like weekly check ins and creating active solutions such as seeking opportunities to work with other colleagues and/or projects. 

Businesses had to act with considerable agility and flexibility during the pandemic and in the aftermath, however they are now faced with considering what the more permanent approach to work looks like for their organisation. Recognising and combating loneliness can have a huge benefit to the organisation, in terms of productivity, quality of work and retention levels. Encouraging an active social life will have huge benefits to both the organisation and the employee. 

If you are seeking support with hybrid and flexible working arrangements and/or employee wellbeing within your organisation, please email info@gravitatehr.co.uk to set up a call with one of our Team.