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Back to Human: How to Combat Loneliness in Workplace

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Back to Human: How to Combat Loneliness in Workplace

by Yi Ting
April 8, 2019

How to Combat Loneliness in Workplace

Workplace loneliness is real, and it is on the rise. It sounds like a joke: How can you spend the whole day surrounded by your colleagues and managers and still feel lonely?

In the past, offices were bricks-and-mortar base of operations for businesses with a 30 to 60 minutes lunch break and the after-work happy hour meet once or twice a week.

But with technology replacing human interaction, heavier workloads and the popularity of working from home have led to increasing workplace loneliness. Watercooler talks have been replaced with Skype instant messaging. Meetings are held via Skype. Lunch breaks have become extra time to manage workloads.

A 2014 Relate survey revealed that 42 percent of employees don’t have a single friend at the office.

Risks of workplace loneliness

Workplace loneliness can be emotionally disturbing and can impede your productivity. It makes you less confident and demotivated.

Moreover, workplace loneliness is associated with reduced lifespan, obesity, increased blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.

What should employees do to conduct workplace loneliness?

A well-organized office environment can make a huge difference in eliminating the feeling of loneliness among employees. It is primarily the employer’s duty to ensure a healthy and happy environment where people can communicate with each other.

Here is what employers can do to combat loneliness in the workplace:

1. Keep your employees in the loop

A lack of knowledge leads to frustration in any situation. When employees feel they aren’t privy to information or high enough to be aware of big things in the company, it creates a growing sense of being unrecognized and loneliness.

Hiding confidential information is important, but things like forgetting to cc someone in the department-wide email or not inviting a team member to a partner meeting only creates secluded and unhappy employees.

So, ensure that your employees feel like they know everything on at all times. Take extra care when sending out memos and make more of a conscious effort to provide enough information to make your employees comfortable. Increasing that trust will make them feel valued and welcomed, which will help eliminate loneliness.

2. Shorter meetings for more human contact

Shorter and purposeful meetings develop and maintain connections among employees. They help people feel valued and focus on their work, which ultimately boosts their productivity.

3. Develop a company mentoring program

Start a structured and well-managed mentoring program where mentors share their knowledge and help each other grow. At these programs, employees also share a few laughs as a mentor and know each other on a personal level.

Employee mentorship programs bring employees together and promote personal bonds among them. It eliminates loneliness and creates a feeling of community in the workplace, which increases employee retention and professional growth.

4. Provide informal space at the office

Provide lounges for face-to-face communications, where it’s work-related or just a quick social chat over coffee. It’s very simple – throw a few bean bag chairs in a break room, get some indoor plants, paint walls with lovely colors so that your people can feel relaxed.

5. Make a friend

Find one person who could be your advocate and who enjoys being with you. He or she may or may not be in your department.

Find such a person, go to him in the lunch break or when you’re free and talk to them. It will help develop a fun bonding with someone and make a huge difference in your work life.

6. Start speaking up

Focusing on the negative is easy. Don’t go over persons who have wronged you and don’t waste time plotting out revenge.

Instead, focus on little wines. Though it can be challenging, but learn to tolerate losses. When you face a loss, take a quick break, relax and talk about it with someone close to you.

7. Focus on little victories and learn to tolerate losses

Focusing on the negative is easy. Don’t go over persons who have wronged you and don’t waste time plotting out revenge.

Instead, focus on little wines. Though it can be challenging, but learn to tolerate losses. When you face a loss, take a quick break, relax and talk about it with someone close to you.

Final words

If you have made your best efforts and but nothing worked, don’t be discouraged or take things too personally. Social habits and office cultures may take time to change. With the consistency and sincerity of your efforts, you’re sure to make a difference over time.

Employers should remember that employees with a feeling of isolation are not for the organization. Such employees turn less productive that collectively affects the organization’s revenue. Also, if such an employee quits his job because of loneliness, they may spread negative words about the company. That’s why both employers and employees should come together to beat rising workplace loneliness.

JustLogin is a HR software provider specializing in cloud Payroll, Leave and Time & Attendance applications. We help you automate your HR, so you can focus on your people, culture and business. Find out more about us here. 

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