Loneliness at Work – Hybrid Working Effects

May 10, 2022

Pro-EAP Team

The theme this Mental Health Awareness Week (9th – 15th) is loneliness. How does loneliness at work affect our menta health? Everyone can feel lonely sometimes. Social loneliness occurs when the quantity and quality of social relationships we have doesn’t match what we want.

Through the years individuals have adapted motivation for being social and when experiencing long-term loneliness, our mental and physical health may struggle.

Different studies show the effects loneliness at work may have in someone’s life and career. The results demonstrate that loneliness at work has a positive and significant association with work alienation, while a negative relationship with wellbeing and mental health.


What are the reasons for loneliness at work?

We often associate loneliness with the elderly, while this is usually true, loneliness is not exclusive to them. Loneliness can affect anyone, people with busy lives and high positioned jobs or even those with big social circles.

In the UK, over 9 million people (more than the population of London) suffer from loneliness and many of them suffer it in the workplace too.

Research by Totaljobs (2020) found that three in five employees feel lonely at work; however, with the impact of the pandemic, this number could now be much higher.

A study by Wright et al. (2006) explains that the reason for workplace loneliness is a competitive and uncooperative environment. When we imagine this type of working environment, developing social relationships may be harder than in others. In this case the employer is in charge of making the workplace a more sociable and open space.


How does hybrid work affect loneliness?

Meanwhile remote or hybrid working has a long list of benefits, it doesn’t tick this box for many. It is obvious that when working from home, we are more isolated. The lack of connection with colleagues is one of the biggest reasons why hybrid working increases loneliness. 52% of global employees feel less connected to their co-workers since they shifted to remote working.

41% of employees aged between 18-34 and 40% of employees between 35-44 experience loneliness when working from a different place than the office. This shows how loneliness when hybrid working has a bigger effect on younger employees, compared to 24% of employees between 45-54 and 23% of 55 and over.

Many employees state that their main and only issue with remote working is the amount of loneliness that comes along with it. 20% of people said this in 2020, 16% in 2021 and 24% in 2022.


What can the workplace do about loneliness at work?

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the cost of loneliness to UK employers has been estimated to be £2.5 billion every year.

Since one of the main reasons of loneliness at work is remote working, providing the employees with real flexible working days is the best option for their wellbeing. This will allow them to organise their lives around their working hours.

You may also like…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *