- Sixty-one percent of employees suffer from loneliness, up from 54% in 2018, a nationwide Cigna study released Jan. 23 showed. Those afflicted the most by loneliness were Gen Zers, entry-level and senior-level employees, telecommuters and gig workers.
- The 2020 Loneliness Index also found that lonely workers took off twice as many sick days, missed five times as many workdays due to the stress and were twice as likely to consider quitting their job as non-lonely workers.
- The index found that while technology can mitigate loneliness by connecting people, it also can make people feel more isolated when they perceive it as a replacement for face-to-face interaction.
Loneliness may be less detectable than other mental health problems in the workplace but, as the index showed, feelings of isolation can lead to more overt problems such as stress. This makes loneliness a well-being issue, which more company heads are making a priority, according to an October 2019 LifeWorks survey. By taking more responsibility for employee wellness, CEOs can support HR leaders' efforts to create a less stressful, more productive workplace.
Good relationships with co-workers contribute to employees' well-being, a June 2019 Well-being in the Workplace report found. By making it easier for workers to connect, through technology and face-to-face interactions, employers may be able to reduce some of the feelings of isolation that afflict young workers, telecommuters, gig workers workers and entry-level employees.
An Optum survey also showed that a clear majority of companies (75%) reported offering wellness programs to reduce absenteeism, boost total compensation packages, lower healthcare spending and raise employee morale.