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Feeling included means we have greater job satisfaction, are more engaged, creative and productive and employee turnover is often lower. Discover how to stop loneliness to increase employee satisfaction, engagement, involvement, wellbeing, retention, and productivity.

If feeling included is such a given then why do 1 in 5 of us feel lonely at work according to, and 23% say that loneliness has affected their mental health? As Loneliness Awareness Week (12th - 18th of June) approaches it’s important to discuss how to make everyone feel valued and part of the team – whether they work in the office or remotely.


A recent paper published by showed that with loneliness comes reduced well-being and occupational functioning, which could have costs for employers. Pooled results indicate that workplace loneliness was associated with lower job performance, reduced job satisfaction, worse relationships between workers and managers and elevated burnout.

Feelings of isolation can exacerbate stress levels, which can contribute to being inactive, poor sleep quality and feelings of depression and anxiety among employees. Loneliness can lead to decreased productivity, creativity, and performance as lonely individuals may feel less motivated and engaged in their work tasks, affecting both themselves and the organisation. Employees who feel disconnected from their colleagues are likely to feel job dissatisfaction, miss days of work and are more likely to leave.


Loneliness is often misunderstood as being alone, but it’s not that simple. Some people feel content in solitude, whilst others, even amongst others, feel isolated.

Loneliness in the workplace poses a real threat and can affect anyone from entry-level positions to CEOs. Whilst working from home may be more convenient for many, a survey from Kadence found that 67% of workers aged 18 – 34 said working from home has meant they have found it harder to make friends and maintain relationships with colleagues.

Younger employees (18-24 years old) are twice as likely to feel lonely at work according to But it can get lonelier as you become more senior. According to a Deloitte study, 30% of senior executives report feelings of isolation due to a perception of needing to project strength and certainty at all times, a lack of people to turn to, or the pressures of decision-making. This loneliness amongst leaders can have significant implications, not only on their well-being but also on their ability to connect with the team effectively and to stay engaged.


Look out for vulnerability
Remote workers, single parents juggling work and family responsibilities, and employees from minority backgrounds may be more susceptible to feelings of isolation due to factors such as physical distance, lack of support systems, or cultural differences and ostracism. Start one-to-one meetings with check-ins and keep your door open for employees to reach out. Take a look at the people in the company and reflect and analyse who may be lonely and seek solutions after checking in on them.

Here are some other things your organisation can do to promote a positive work culture:

  • Value your people - It also reinforces a sense of belonging and purpose, reducing the likelihood of loneliness. Valuing the efforts of your employees is just as important as celebrating results. It demonstrates humility, builds strong relationships and a positive work culture, and increases engagement.
  • Allow voices to be heard to show care – show that every voice matters. People want to feel seen, celebrated and cared about. Create a supportive atmosphere.
  • Maintain zero tolerance of toxicity - Being vigilant for poor behaviours such as rudeness, bullying, microaggressions or harassment is essential to prevent the development of a toxic work environment and avoid conflict and exclusion. Conflict can stop productivity and engagement.
  • Buddy up - Implementing a buddy system or a peer support programme promotes employee connections. Encouraging employees to form professional friendships also opens the door to collaboration, exchanging skills and expertise, and better understanding.
  • Mentoring and reverse mentoring can enable people to develop new skills and to learn from someone different to them.

Encourage meaningful connections through collaboration
Collaboration as a team improves productivity; it’s excellent for problem-solving, fosters healthy relationships and is about bettering people and creating meaningful connections with colleagues. Collaboration can take many forms from internal to external partnerships, between virtual to on-site workers, as well as encouraging, inter-generational and cross-department work and liaising with the community. All of these can help reduce loneliness and better engagement.

Space to socialise
Lastly, stop loneliness to enhance employee engagement by creating an interactive atmosphere and physical space to facilitate the formation of friendships amongst colleagues, such as on-site social events, lunches, or fun sporting fixtures. Be cognisant that good intentions can sometimes still inadvertently mean exclusion, but a real community will cater for all needs and expectations.


By Thom Dennis, CEO of Culture and Leadership Specialists, Serenity in Leadership

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