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LONELINESS AT WORK

The Next Pandemic?

We are facing another crisis in the workplace, one that has been going on long before Covid; employee loneliness. In this newsletter we are discussing why the levels of employee loneliness are skyrocketing, what we as employers can do and how we can do better.

 
IS LONELINESS THE NEXT WORKPLACE PANDEMIC?

"When those in senior living talk about loneliness, thoughts usually turn to residents. A new study, however, reveals that loneliness can be an issue for employees, too, even as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management is calling loneliness “the next pandemic” in the workplace. But fortunately, solutions exist, the association says. The society surveyed HR professionals and US workers in general between November and January and learned that only about a fourth of employees say that loneliness has decreased over the past three years.

Results were presented at the association’s recently concluded annual meeting, and they point to the benefits of the spontaneous social interactions that can occur in the workplace.


“This new research shows that Generation Z and millennial workers tend to experience more frequent loneliness and also to value ‘casual collisions’ more than working adults in general,” SHRM Research Vice President Annemarie Schaefer said. And those “collisions” can be good for workers’ mental health." Learn more


WORKPLACE LONELINESS HAS BROAD IMPLICATIONS ON MENTAL HEALTH

"Feeling lonely at your job? Others have been, too, even before the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of

remote work. However, the "pandemic of loneliness" appears to have peaked in 2020, according to new SHRM research.


That doesn't mean the problem has disappeared, though. More than one-third 38 percent—of all workers surveyed say they are lonely on the job at least monthly, according to the SHRM report released June 13 at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2023. Loneliness is a problem that should still be addressed, particularly among certain age groups. Slightly more than half of working Americans said the loneliness they feel at work was about the same in 2022 as it was in 2019;

22 percent said they feel lonely less often now." Learn more


TACKLING WORKPLACE LONELINESS

"It’s well known that the secret to living a happier, healthier and longer life is by fostering positive relationships and a sense of community. Just weeks ago, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy wrote a New York Times opinion piece decrying the loneliness epidemic in our nation. This need for high-quality relationships and a sense of community applies not just to everyday life, but our workplaces as well. A newly released White House advisory stresses the importance of mental health in the workplace; after all, more than one-third of a person’s life is spent with their coworkers.


Yet, despite this time spent with others, workplace loneliness is pervasive. Prepandemic figures estimated that nearly 40 percent of the workforce was lonely. With hybrid and remote work environments, rates of loneliness have only increased. According to a newly released survey from Glassdoor Economic Research, more than half (58 percent) of employees with fewer than five years of work experience feel lonely all or most of the time. This figure drops slightly to about half for those with six to 10 years of experience, and interestingly, skyrockets again as workers, particularly women, ascend the corporate ladder." Learn more


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