Suffering in Silence, Loneliness’ physical and mental consequences, particularly among older generations, are now extensively established.
However, despite being surrounded by coworkers all day, an increasing number of individuals are experiencing feelings of loneliness at work.
According to a recent study from Mind and totaljobs, more than half of UK employees (60%) have experienced loneliness at work.
You might wonder why this is, considering that classic definitions of loneliness include being alone or in a condition of solitude. But, according to current thinking, loneliness is a “state of mind” that makes individuals feel empty, alone, and unloved.
Employee health has a huge influence on corporate success. Nearly two-thirds of employees believe their employer does not do enough to address workplace loneliness, despite data suggesting that loneliness costs up to five days of productivity per impacted employee.
The goal of this month’s post is to look into the problem and give some basic remedies.
What is the source of loneliness?
According to traditional research, people who are married, have greater salaries, and have a higher educational position have lower levels of loneliness. Higher degrees of loneliness, on the other hand, are linked to people who live alone, have limited social networks, and have low-quality social interactions.
Moving to a new place, starting a new career, getting divorced, and losing a loved one are all significant causes. It might also be a sign of a psychiatric illness, such as sadness, or a lack of self-esteem.
When examining the variables that exacerbate this at work, consider the following:
- Technology is undeniably important. Instead of chatting to individuals, we send emails or instant messaging.
- Hot desking/part-time/flexi working makes it difficult to develop strong relationships. People notice someone is sick or has a birthday when they sit in the same spot every day. We no longer have “work families.”
- As individuals work longer hours and rush home to spend what little time they have left with their loved ones, workplace pressure means that the social pub drink is becoming less and less common. Working from home contributes to this isolation, with some employees not seeing coworkers for weeks at a time.
Given the foregoing, it’s no surprise that the millennial generation, for whom technology accounts for a growing amount of their social interactions, has the greatest levels of professional anxiety and loneliness.
Suffering in Silence has a negative impact on one’s health.
It is a proven truth that being alone is bad for your health. What occurs is that when we feel isolated and alone, our bodies go into overdrive, shortening our breath, tensing our muscles, and speeding up our pulse rate. If left untreated, it raises the risk of heart disease by 29% and stroke by 32%, resulting in a seven-year reduction in total life expectancy.
Chronic loneliness, according to some researchers, is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes per day in terms of health.
Suffering in Silence at work can lead to antisocial behaviour and poor decision-making because loneliness affects brain function, resulting in worse memory and learning. Furthermore, lonely individuals drink more alcohol and exercise less than non-lonely ones.
Their food is fattier, their sleep is less restful, and they complain of increased tiredness during the day.
Suffering in Silence: How employers can help at work
Make coping with loneliness a top priority for your health.
Managers must be taught and developed in order to give adequate assistance. This may be as easy as noting when an employee has a major life transition, such as establishing a family, having children leave the home, ending a relationship, losing a loved one, or receiving a promotion at work.
Inspire individuals to converse
Even the most gregarious individuals can feel lonely, so don’t make assumptions or try to predict what a coworker’s problem is. One of the worst things a person in distress can do is remain silent. Opening up about how they’re feeling to a coworker might help them feel more at ease while speaking with a boss.
Make it possible for people to interact socially.
Most people spend more time at work with their coworkers than with their families. As a result, employers have a lot of chances to provide opportunities for social contact. Such possibilities – which might be as basic as setting up shared breakout spaces and encouraging employees to have lunch together rather than alone at their desks – can have a significant emotional impact.
Make an effort to keep social structures intact.
Many of the social systems that formerly existed in the workplace have vanished. Bring colleagues together on a regular basis through team meetings or social activities if they now work from home. Similarly, the necessity for field-based personnel to convene at a depot/office before commencing their day has been replaced by technology.