Worker loneliness and isolation reduce productivity – what should employers do?

Published Sep 22, 2023

Recent research by Reward Gateway has found that 24% of employees experience loneliness at work.

Gen Z workers (those aged 18-24) are the group most likely to feel this way with 32% effected. This figure contrasts with workers aged 55+ of whom only 9% experience loneliness at work.

Feelings of loneliness were found to be highest amongst office workers which challenges the assumption that home workers and hybrid workers would feel this more.

The research shows that loneliness directly impacts on our approach to work. Just 16% of workers who feel lonely are willing to go “above and beyond” for their employer. Whereas for workers not experiencing loneliness this figure jumps to 30%. There is also a correlation between feelings of loneliness, absence and poor mental health. The research found a link between individuals feeling lonely and having increased levels of concern over finances.

What can employees do to address loneliness?

The research found that the following measures can help address loneliness amongst employees:
  • Provide meaningful rewards and recognitions to your team
    • Create opportunities for meaningful connection – examples can include weekly coffee mornings and improving break areas that encourage communal eating and conversation
    • Set up activity groups – examples can include a lunchtime or after work walking group, yoga classes, quizzes and charity fundraising during workdays
    • Provide access and signposting to financial wellbeing support