Over half of employees feel lonely all or most of the time, study finds

Experts say the responsibility lies with the employer to require workers to spend more time together and help combat loneliness
April 12, 2023
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Experts say the responsibility lies with the employer to require workers to spend more time together and help combat loneliness

Over half (58 per cent) employees with less than five years of work experience feel lonely all or most of the time, a study has found.

The survey of 2,000 employees by Glassdoor found that the figure drops to just under half (47 per cent) for those with six-10 years of experience. Loneliness drops dramatically to just 15 per cent for employees with over 11 years in the workforce, and a quarter (24 per cent) of that age group says they are “never lonely” at work.

Additionally, Glassdoor’s Economic Research found almost a quarter (20 per cent) of all employees would stay in a job they didn’t like if the company social life was good, and this figure jumps to 28 per cent amongst workers under the age of 35.

Conducted in March 2023, the survey also revealed that more than a quarter (28 per cent) of employees across all ages believe companies are more anti-social now than pre-pandemic, suggesting that workplace social lives have yet to recover from the disruption of Covid.

Furthermore, analysis of data also showed that discussion about loneliness had jumped 11 per cent since working from home guidance was scrapped in January 2022 – creeping up to the highest levels since the first lockdown in March 2020.

Gethin Nadin, psychologist and chief innovation officer at Benefex, said despite the benefits of new ways of working, bridging the distance between people is a big challenge and organisations must take action.

“Employers should be encouraging and dare I say enforcing that employees spend more time with each other. This means facilitating local meetups or developing third workspaces away from the home and the office where people can meet and socialise,” said Nadin.

He added that employers should consider and “remove any barriers” to people meeting up, such as childcare and travel costs, and inform remote workers of the “importance of spending time with their team”, not just for the company, but also for the benefit of the individual.

Petra Velzeboer, psychotherapist and chief executive of PVL, said while numerous tools and strategies can assist us in finding a sense of belonging at work, the foundation is establishing “psychological safety” and building trust in your team and wider company culture.

“Leaders place a crucial role in leading by example so that others can observe behaviours that support connection – ask yourself, how can I see every interaction as an opportunity to help others feel seen, heard and valued and watch the ripple effect of change,” said Velzeboer.

The research also found that positive mentions of ‘social life’ have decreased by 39 per cent since 2020, indicating workers are struggling to build meaningful connections at work and employers aren’t meeting their social needs.

Jill Cotton, career trends expert at Glassdoor, said cultivating a positive workplace culture is not a ‘nice to have’.

“If employers want to keep talent, they must address the shocking loneliness felt particularly by younger workers,” she said, adding that the shift to remote and hybrid work has “transformed our social connections” with colleagues, and companies and employees must “adapt to these changes”.

However, the study also revealed that when it comes to job satisfaction, feeling socially connected to colleagues is hugely important to workers, as the vast majority (89 per cent) believe feeling a sense of belonging with their company is vital to their overall workplace happiness.

While nearly half of all workers (49 per cent) say a good social life has a significant impact on their overall job satisfaction and mental health.

Meanwhile, a previous report by Executive Development Network found that the majority of employees (86 per cent) would be more likely to leave a job if it did not support their well-being.

Original Article: People Management

Combat anti-social workplace and cultivate social-connections among the people. Contact our recruitment specialist Gareth Allison or give us a call on 02920 620702.

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