Loneliness is an enemy of business. It could result in an unmotivated and unproductive, person, team or workforce. It is the silent killer in every workplace because it leaves employees detached from the company’s goals. According to research, loneliness has the same health risks as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.  There is also a recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation, that shows that 10% of people often feel lonely, a third have a close friend or relative who they think is very lonely, and half assume that people are being lonelier in general. 

But why do people get lonely? 

According to a London based campaign, To End Loneliness expounds that loneliness happens when the quantity and quality of social relationships people have doesn’t match with what they want. 

Can you get lonely in your workplace? 

Given that social media is available to help stay connected with our loved ones or colleagues, loneliness can be reduced and managed, but yes, we can still get lonely. There are two reasons for workplace loneliness: 

Emotional and Social. Emotional loneliness occurs when there is absence of connection or being close to someone; Social loneliness happens when there is lack of social relationships. In fact, over 9 million people in the UK suffer from loneliness. 

What happens to a lonely worker? 

  • Interpersonal Relationships are affected. Lonely individuals tend to detach themselves from social events. Leading them to be unparticipative in decision-making processes and team activities in the workplace. This could also stir conflicts among peers. 
  • Mental Health deteriorates when someone is lonely or feeling isolated, it could lead them to depression, anxiety, or worse, suicide. 
  • Job Performance as well as physical health is neglected. When someone feels detached, they often become disinterested in accomplishing tasks as they find no passion or worth in what they are doing. Lonely people tend to cling to their vices such as cigarette smoking or too much alcohol consumption that could also affect their physical health. 

In today’s crisis people, especially adults, are prone to loneliness as the effect of social isolation and lockdowns brought by the pandemic COVID-19 has reduced social interactions significantly. As the government tells us to stay home and only go outside when necessary it is important to remember that aside from a healthy physical body, the mental and emotional health of oneself should also be monitored and taken care off too.