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58% of employees feel lonely all or most of the time. [Glassdoor Survey, 2023] 

While remote and hybrid work models have revolutionised workplace flexibility and autonomy, they have also introduced a less visible challenge: a rise in feelings of loneliness and isolation among employees. 

In fact, since 2020, organisations have observed a 39% decrease in positive workplace social interactions.

This shift highlights the need for proactive strategies to maintain connection and well-being in this new work landscape.



Three key learnings about loneliness in the workplace.


Chronic Loneliness isn’t Just an Emotional Challenge – it’s a Physical One

Loneliness can increase someone’s chances of dying by 30%. When someone experiences loneliness, their body triggers a fight-or-flight response. Over time, this sustained stress response can contribute to chronic inflammation, which is linked to a range of health issues.


16-24 Year Olds are Twice as Likely to Experience Workplace Loneliness

It’s a misconception that loneliness is confined to older generations. Young adults, particularly those aged 16-24, are increasingly suffering from loneliness. Far from being in the ‘prime of their lives’, many are silently struggling with feelings of disconnection in both their professional and personal lives.


Loneliness Leads to Increased Absenteeism and Reduced Productivity

According to a study by Cigna Healthcare, employees grappling with loneliness are five times more likely to miss work due to stress. Additionally, they often exhibit lower productivity and engagement levels, which can lead to decreased job satisfaction and increased thoughts of leaving their position.



Three practical actions for leaders to combat loneliness in the workplace.


Teach Your Team The 3 L’s of Loneliness

Look for team members who are struggling. Listen to their story. Lend a hand. This approach is about being proactive in noticing signs of loneliness, actively engaging in empathetic listening, and offering support or resources to help.


Enhance Workplace Social Connections

One of the most effective ways to combat loneliness is through connection. By organising local meetups and creating alternative social spaces for employees, you actively promote an environment where meaningful relationships can flourish. For remote workers, it is also important to emphasise the importance of in-person team interactions for both personal well-being and company benefit. Employers should actively remove obstacles like childcare and travel costs to facilitate easier social engagement.


Personalise Your Approach

Every team member is unique, and so are their experiences with loneliness. Personalise your approach by understanding individual needs and preferences. This might involve one-on-one conversations, recognising personal milestones, or customising team activities to ensure everyone feels included and valued.




Words of advice from those who have lived it

“Loneliness isn’t the physical absence of other people, he said—it’s the sense that you’re not sharing anything that matters with anyone else. If you have lots of people around you—perhaps even a husband or wife, or a family, or a busy workplace—but you don’t share anything that matters with them, then you’ll still be lonely.” ― Johann Hari author of ‘Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions’

“Integrating regular social interactions into remote work has significantly improved team dynamics and overall job satisfaction.” ― Erica Coe, HR Leader



Combating loneliness in remote work, especially as a leader, requires a delicate balance between offering autonomy and ensuring connection. It’s not just about task efficiency but about creating a supportive network that fosters both individual and collective well-being. Embrace the flexibility of remote work but remain vigilant about the need for social and team interaction.

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