Loneliness in Business
Loneliness in the workplace is a serious issue which can have far-reaching consequences, not just for individuals but also for their colleagues and companies as a whole. In an academic study, researchers found that workers who feel lonely are more likely to withdraw from their role, making them less enthusiastic and effective workers. As a result their task completion, teamwork abilities and relationships with their colleagues all suffer. Through these cues co-workers of lonely individuals recognise that they are struggling; however, rather than offering support, co-workers are put off by their lonely colleague’s lack of commitment to the work and are more likely to withdraw themselves. This becomes a downward spiral, where lonely workers are less able to connect with their colleagues, and their colleagues are less interested in connecting with them.
For a company to have one lonely employee can be damaging for their team; to have many lonely employees can be catastrophic. Having a friend at work is one of the most accurate indicators of employee engagement, yet nearly half of the workforce feels that they have none. This is why some of the biggest companies in the world are starting to become more aware of the importance of addressing employee loneliness.
From an individual perspective, full-time workers spend around half their waking life at work and have more contact with their colleagues than with their friends and family. The damaging effects of loneliness are well known, and for those who feel lonely at work every day can seem like a struggle.
How to help
We believe that companies have a responsibility to help their employees and their wider communities to feel more engaged and less lonely in the workplace. That’s why we will be sharing news and tips over the coming month about common signs of loneliness, how to recognise loneliness in a workmate and how some companies are already working to resolve this issue among their employees. Stay tuned to our social media accounts for more.