35 Workplace Loneliness Statistics (The Problem Is Real)


Workplace Loneliness Statistics

We’ve all been there at some point. If you’ve ever felt lonely in the workplace, you’re not alone. In fact, loneliness is a common experience for many people in the workplace. Check out these workplace loneliness statistics to learn more. You might be surprised by some of the findings!

But first, let’s talk about why this is so important.

Workplace loneliness is a huge problem. In fact, it causes companies $154 billion a year in lost productivity and reduced employee engagement! That’s a lot of cash down the drain—and it doesn’t even account for the physical toll that workplace loneliness takes on people.

So what can we do? Well, we can start by learning more about how widespread this issue is in our workplaces and what we can do about it. That’s where these statistics come in handy: they’ll help us understand just how big an issue workplace loneliness really is and what we can do to combat it.

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Critical Workplace Loneliness Statistics To Know in 2022 [Editor’s Picks]

  • Globally, 72% of employees report feeling lonely at least monthly.
  • Hispanics and African Americans are more prone to workplace loneliness.
  • Workers with at least a college degree are least likely to feel lonely at work.
  • 70% of employees who switched to remote work felt more lonely as compared to before.
  • Men reportedly have a higher sense of isolation and abandonment in the workplace than women.
  • Baby Boomers report feeling less isolated at work than Gen Z and Millenial generations.
  • By industry, entertainment industry workers are by far the loneliest.
  • Workplace loneliness causes companies to lose $154 billion a year in lost productivity as a result of employee absenteeism.
  • 57% of workers say that having a best friend at work makes their tasks more enjoyable.
  • The longer the job tenure, the lower the average loneliness score.

 

General Workplace Loneliness Statistics

1. Globally, 72% of employees report feeling lonely at least monthly.

(Entrepreneur, Cigna)

It would be a huge understatement to say that employees worldwide are lonely. In addition to a massive chunk of the global workforce feeling a monthly wave of loneliness, 55% say that they feel lonely weekly.

In the United States alone, loneliness has increased by 7% as a result of COVID-19. Now, 61% of Americans report feeling lonely, with an average loneliness score of 45.7. In 2018, this percentage was only 54%.

Additionally, out of the highest possible score of 80, the average loneliness score in the United States currently is 45.7. This shows an increase from 44 in 2018.

According to the loneliness scale by the University of California, Los Angeles, a person is considered lonely if they have a score of at least 43. The higher the score, the more lonely a person is.

It may seem like a small percentage, but it’s definitely significant in the grand scheme of things. It’s important to know these statistics to better understand and tackle the issue of workplace loneliness.

 

2. 64% of lonesome workers are psychologically distressed to some degree.

(BOHRF)

Lone working has become more common in recent years, as companies have sought to cut costs by reducing the number of employees they need.

A recent study by the BOHRF found that 64% of lone workers face psychological distress, much higher than other employees working in teams.

This research was conducted to better understand the impacts of lone working on mental health and to find ways to improve conditions for lone workers.

The foundation’s report found that many of the problems faced by lone workers are due to a lack of social support and isolation. These issues can lead to increased levels of psychological distress and poor physical health.

It is important that companies take measures to ensure that their lone workers are not facing these challenges.

 

3. 15% of American employees want to increase the amount of in-person interaction they get at work.

(Cigna)

Out of every 10 American employees, one says that they never have in-person interactions at work—either through meetings or face-to-face conversations. Moreover, 61% state that they have less than one hour to two hours of in-person interaction with their coworkers per day.

That said, 72% state that they are content with this amount of in-person interaction. On the other hand, 15% would want to have more, while 13% would prefer having fewer in-person interactions with coworkers.

People who get the proper amount of workplace in-person interactions are less likely to be lonely than those who want more or less in-person interaction.

 

4. 56% of employees believe that technology decreases the amount of in-person interaction in the workplace.

(Cigna)

Indeed, with the use of various messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams, in-person conversations in the workplace have decreased. Why set up a meeting in person when you can just send a long e-mail, right?

However, technology is only a tool, and it is up to us humans how we wield it. That said, 60% of employees believe that workplace technology fosters workplace relationships and helps workers develop meaningful and fulfilling relationships.

 

The Demographics of Workplace Loneliness

Workplace Loneliness Demographics

5. Hispanics and African Americans are more prone to workplace loneliness.

(Cigna)

Workplace loneliness has different effects on various ethnic and racial groups. For example, Hispanic and African American workers don’t feel supported by colleagues during challenging work situations (37% and 30% versus 25% of whites) and feel isolated from their colleagues (39% and 30% versus 26% of whites).

Hispanic workers are also more likely to feel emotionally distant in the workplace than white workers. It’s quite ironic, however, that 53% of Hispanic and 57% of African American employees report being more likely to socialize with coworkers compared to 45% of whites.

 

6. Workers with at least a college degree are least likely to feel lonely at work.

(Cigna)

A worker’s education status also plays a role in workplace loneliness. Those with at least a college degree have a higher sense of camaraderie and have more friends at work. The rest of the workers have roughly the same feelings of loneliness at work.

However, those with no more than a high school education are the least likely to find their work meaningful (39% versus 29% of employees with a graduate degree).

 

7. Low-income employees are most likely to have negative thoughts about their place of work.

(Cigna)

Income is another driver of workplace loneliness—more than education. Low-income workers are most likely to think negative things about their place of work, feel alienated or isolated from colleagues, withdraw from people they work with, and feel distant from coworkers.

Although low-income employees have friends or even best friends at work, they’re less likely to agree with this statement than middle and high-income employees.

 

Workplace Loneliness Among Genders

8. Men reportedly have a higher sense of isolation and abandonment in the workplace than women.

(Cigna)

In general, men are more likely to feel lonely than women. Particularly, according to a 2020 research, 63% of men have a loneliness score of more than 43, while only 58% of women report the same.

One out of three male workers also reports feeling abandoned by coworkers during times of pressure, while only 23% of women workers report the same.

 

9. 43% of men feel the need to hide their true selves at work compared to only 34% of women.

(Cigna)

Aside from feeling abandoned or isolated in the workplace, men also feel like they can’t show their true identity at work. It’s quite ironic, too, since statistics show that men (60%) are slightly more likely to have a best friend at work than women (56%).

Men (51%) are also more prone to spending time with colleagues outside work than women (44%). Despite reporting this, they feel like they can’t be their true selves at work.

 

10. 41% of men report feeling generally empty at work compared to 29% of women.

(Cigna)

Men are feeling an increasing sense of alienation in the workplace, as more than a quarter (29%) have found themselves feeling lonely and not belonging.

Although previous studies have shown that women are more likely to experience stress and anxiety than men, they also exhibit better practices at managing their stress than men. This could be a contributing factor to why more men report feeling empty at work than women.

 

Workplace Loneliness Among Generations

11. 23% of employees below the age of 25 experience workplace loneliness.

(IBMadison)

Additionally, 44% of these employees don’t have a friend in the workplace. Generation Z has been dubbed the loneliest generation. These young people, who are between the ages of 6 and 24, state that they feel consistently alone.

On the other hand, employees aged 35 to 64 experience less loneliness at work, with only one in eight of them reporting the same experience as their younger counterparts.

 

12. 7% of Gen Z’ers have not made any workplace friends despite starting a new job over the past year.

(IBMadison)

Workers under the age of 25 are mostly the ones who find it hard to get to know coworkers, especially since working from home became the new employment trend.

Though it’s easy to point the finger at social media as the culprit for workplace loneliness among Generation Z, the average workplace setup is inducing workplace loneliness as it is.

When we think about it, we’re separated in offices or cubicles and mostly communicate through emails or chats. So, are we lonely? The answer would be a resounding yes.

 

13. Baby Boomers report feeling less isolated at work than Gen Z and Millenial generations.

(Cigna)

Baby Boomers are also more likely to be fulfilled by their work than younger generations. There is more than twice the percentage of Gen Z’ers (42%) that often feel neglected by coworkers under pressure than Baby Boomers (18%).

Although Gen Z’ers are more likely to prioritize work-life balance than older generations, they’re still reported to be feeling more lonely at work, possibly as a result of overexposure to social media.

 

14. 55% of Gen Z’ers feel emotionally distant from their coworkers compared to 27% of Baby Boomers.

(Cigna)

Aside from feeling emotionally distant from coworkers, more Gen Z’ers (40%) feel estranged from the individuals they work with compared to Baby Boomers (18%). The gap is almost twice as much, which is quite alarming.

Additionally, 55% of Gen Z’ers feel disconnected from their workers compared to just 27% of Baby Boomers.

 

15. Gen Z’ers are most likely to hide their true selves from coworkers.

(Cigna)

In particular, research shows that 54% of Gen Z’ers feel like they have to hide their true selves when at work, while only 39% of Gen X’ers, 47% of Millenials, and 26% of Baby Boomers report feeling the same.

This happens despite the fact that more younger employees claim to have a best friend at work and socialize with coworkers outside work.

 

Workplace Loneliness By Profession

16. By industry, entertainment industry workers are by far the loneliest.

(Cigna)

This includes people who work in music, sports, film, and publishing, among others. This group of workers has an average loneliness score of 48.

Additionally, 62% of entertainment industry workers feel that they are sometimes or always alone, and 54% state that they don’t think anyone really knows them well.

 

17. Business services is the least lonely industry.

(Cigna)

This industry includes services that support businesses without producing tangible goods, including finance, software, insurance, travel, marketing, research, and others. Individuals employed in this industry have an average loneliness score of only 44.8.

Additionally, only a little more than half (51%) of them often or always feel alone, 40% don’t feel that they’re close to anyone, and 60% often or always feel that nobody knows them really well.

 

18. By business type, the loneliest are gig and sharing economy workers.

(Cigna)

Gig economy workers make up only 3% of the American workforce, but they have the highest average loneliness score at 48.9. Next to them, self-employed individuals (46.8) and people working in publicly traded companies (46.1) are the loneliest.

In particular, 75% of sharing economy employees feel alone despite having people around them.

 

19. By job position, senior executives and entry-level employees are the loneliest.

(Cigna)

57% of C-suite executives feel like there’s no one they can rely on, 56% don’t feel close to anybody, and 70% don’t think anyone knows them well. Additionally, when it comes to the average loneliness score, entry-level employees have the highest at 48.3.

So, it seems that loneliness is the same whether you’re at the top or bottom of the corporate ladder.

 

The Effects of Workplace Loneliness

20. Workplace loneliness causes companies to lose $154 billion a year in lost productivity as a result of employee absenteeism.

(Cigna)

Cost of Workplace Loneliness

Loneliness causes employees to feel unengaged and unproductive in the workplace, which poses a financial threat to businesses.

When employees are stressed and lonely, they’re more likely to be absent from work. Particularly, lonely employees are twice more likely to be absent from work than those who aren’t lonely.

Additionally, stressed employees are five times more likely to miss work than employees who aren’t.

 

21. Only 47% of lonely employees report that they can work efficiently.

(Cigna)

Loneliness in the workplace can hinder employees from being productive. As a result, only less than half of employees who identify as lonely claim to be efficient.

Particularly, only 48% of them can say that they can give their best at work. On the other hand, 64% of employees who aren’t lonely can perform efficiently and give their best effort.

 

22. Over 42% of lonely employees claim to be somewhere else mentally while they were at work.

(Cigna)

Lonely people have a lot on their minds, and aside from affecting productivity, it can also affect an employee’s concentration. That’s why the percentage of lonely employees who are not mentally present at work is more than double the percentage of workers who aren’t lonely (42% versus 18%).

This goes hand in hand with productivity, wherein you can’t really be productive if your mind is floating elsewhere while you’re trying to do your best at work.

 

23. 65% of lonely employees believe that their mental health affects their work performance.

(Cigna)

On the other hand, only 24% of non-lonely employees feel the same way.

The lonelier the employee is, the lower his or her productivity is. Lonely people are often anxious, irritable, lethargic, unmotivated, and bored. They’re also likely to be sleep-deprived.

All of these factors affect job performance, and that’s why the majority of lonely employees firmly believe that their mental state hinders them from being good at their job.

 

24. Lonely employees are over three times more likely to be dissatisfied with work than those who aren’t lonely.

(Cigna)

In particular, 21% of lonely employees are not satisfied with their job, while only 7% of non-lonely employees report feeling the same way.

Even though loneliness is a prevalent issue in today’s workplace, it’s not actively addressed by human resources teams in companies, so lonely employees are likely to remain unproductive, unmotivated, and exhibit a low commitment to the organization they’re in.

 

25. Three out of ten lonely employees report being sick or not feeling well at work in the past three months.

(Cigna)

In comparison, only 14% of non-lonely employees feel the same way.

Loneliness affects our physical health more than we care to admit. It can lead to a plethora of physical and mental issues, such as heart disease, hypertension, obesity, weak immune system, depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease.

That said, poor health due to workplace loneliness can hinder employees from being productive. In fact, nearly 20% of lonely workers state that their emotional or mental health has extremely hindered them from being productive for the past month.

 

Benefits of Having a Best Friend at Work

26. 57% of workers say that having a best friend at work makes their tasks more enjoyable.

(IBMadison)

When you have someone whom you can share the menial or challenging parts of your job with, the work seems less boring. Employees are more likely to enjoy their work if they find some meaning in it.

Having people to speak to about the work that you do and having them relate to you on a deeper level can indeed make tasks more enjoyable.

 

27. 20% say they are more productive when they have a best friend at work.

(IBMadison)

When people at work are on good terms and—even better—friends, there is good communication. There is also a good professional bond amongst them, which leads to job satisfaction and happiness.

This allows employees to express their ideas freely and openly share their successes and frustrations. That said, an engaged and happy employee is a productive employee.

 

28. 21% claim that having a workplace best friend inspires creativity.

(IBMadison)

When workplace conversations are not limited to formal meetings and emails, employees are more likely to relax, think outside the box, and be creative and innovative.

Employee creativity ultimately benefits the company as it allows employees to think of innovative and efficient solutions to the problems they face in the workplace.

 

29. 12% of employees are less likely to resign from a company where they have gained friends.

(IBMadison)

According to recent research, workers who have at least one friend at work are less likely to actively look for other jobs. Having a friend at work provides employees with a feeling of work-life balance and reduces work-related stress. Now more than ever, employee retention is very critical.

In August 2021, 4.3 million employees resigned from their posts, as employees have a changing view on employment, and money is no longer enough to keep employees around.

 

How Work Environment Affects Workplace Loneliness

30. Remote workers are prone to feeling lonely compared to employees who work in an office setting.

(Cigna)

According to recent statistics, 40% of employees in the United States work in an office, while 10% work in remote locations outside an office.

In line with these statistics, 54% of remote workers feel like their interpersonal relationships are not fulfilling or meaningful, while only 45% of those who work in a traditional office feel this way.

Additionally, remote workers (57%) are more likely to state that they sometimes or always feel alone compared to non-remote workers (52%). They are also more prone to saying that they lack companionship and that they have nobody to turn to during challenging times.

 

31.  70% of employees who switched to remote work felt more isolated compared to when they were in the office.

(Volley)

Studies have shown that after employees switch to remote work, they are feeling more isolated than when they were in the office. This is likely because remote workers are not able to interact with their co-workers as frequently.

In fact, 70% of employees who switched to remote work report feeling more isolated than before. This is a serious issue because isolation can have negative effects on employees’ mental and physical health. It can cause stress and make it difficult to focus at work.

Plus, remote work can make it hard to build relationships outside of the workplace.

Remote work is great, but it also has its drawbacks. Here are 5 ways to cope with the loneliness that can come with working remotely:

  • Make sure you build connections with others in your field.
  • Don’t forget that you’re still part of a team! Stay in touch via email, Slack, or other forms of communication.
  • Schedule regular check-ins with an accountability partner who lives near you and can help keep you on track.
  • Find a local coworking space where you can go for lunch and get some human interaction.
  • If all else fails (or even if it doesn’t), take a break from working at home and head into the office for a few hours at least once a week.

If you’re still experiencing workplace loneliness, it’s important to talk to your boss about switching to a more traditional office setup.

32. Two in three Americans who work from home would have a hard time recognizing their coworkers in person.

(Volley)

A scary thought, isn’t it? This is especially concerning because work is supposed to be one of our main sources of social interaction. But given the amount of human connection we lose each day in our increasingly digital world, this is eventually bound to happen.

The takeaway? Make sure you have opportunities to socialize with your coworkers outside of work. That way, you’ll not only feel better during your regular interactions at work, but you’ll also build stronger bonds with your colleagues.

 

33. Employees in jobs that limit in-person interactions are most likely to have a higher average loneliness score.

(Cigna)

Loneliness is indicated by having an average loneliness score of higher than 43.

That said, those who work in the research field have an average of 48.4, and remote workers have an average of 46.8. Additionally, clinic workers (46.5), skilled labor employees (46.4), and employees in the service industry (46.7) display higher average loneliness scores.

On the contrary, those who work in jobs where they regularly interact with people on a daily basis have an average loneliness score of 44.6.

This shows that although all employees are inherently lonely, some professions cause more workplace loneliness than others.

 

34. The number of work hours and business size have no significant impact on workplace loneliness.

(Cigna)

Unlike work environment, tenure, or job position, these two factors above have no impact on how lonely an employee can be in the workplace.

People who work less than 40 hours per week have a loneliness score of 45.7 on average, while those who work more than 40 hours have an average of 45.2.

Additionally, those who work in small, medium-sized, and large businesses have average loneliness scores of 45.5, 45.2, and 45.4, respectively.

 

35. The longer the job tenure, the lower the average loneliness score.

(Cigna)

Relatively new employees have a higher loneliness score than those who have been at the job for, say, 10 years. Particularly, 64% of employees who’ve been at a job for only less than six months reported feeling a lack of companionship in the workplace. This feeling decreases the longer someone stays in their current position.

Additionally, 60% of those who’ve been working at their current position for less than six months sometimes or always feel that they’re not close to anyone compared to only 39% of those with over 10 years of tenure feeling the same way.

 

Related Questions (FAQs)

Is feeling lonely at work normal?

According to statistics, it’s normal to feel lonely at work once in a while. In fact, 72% of employees worldwide feel lonely at work at least once a month. However, if your feeling of loneliness is persistent, it may be time to get some professional help.

What causes workplace loneliness?

Social loneliness is caused by a lack of friendships to share your interests. That said, being in such circumstances in the workplace causes employees to feel lonely and empty. Some people would also say that technology has made things worse by reducing face-to-face interactions among workers.

How does loneliness affect work?

Workplace loneliness is a global issue that leads to revenue loss in companies. Why? Lonely employees are bound to be less engaged, which causes them to be unhappy. As a result, these employees are not as productive and efficient as companies would like them to be, and creativity is diminished.

Can working alone cause depression?

Working alone is a choice some people make, especially those who work from home. However, most employees work alone because it’s necessary for their roles. That said, 64% of people who work alone experience psychological distress, which is higher than workers who work with colleagues in an office.

How do you deal with being alienated at work?

When you feel isolated in the workplace, one thing you can do is evaluate if the problem is external or internal. You may just be overthinking things. If you are, then you can try to socialize more so people can get to know you. Also, reach out for help if needed.

 

Conclusion

As you may have noticed, workplace loneliness is on the rise. While there are many possible reasons for this increase, one thing is for sure: addressing workplace loneliness should be a key priority for businesses and organizations of all sizes.

Workplace loneliness stats can be pretty damn discouraging, but that’s not stopping people from trying to address the issue. Fortunately, from raising awareness to implementing programs, there are plenty of ways for you to help reduce loneliness in the workplace. By now, you should have a better understanding of what workplace loneliness is and some strategies for reducing it.

The data shows that workplace loneliness is real — and it’s a problem. And it is one that could be costing your company money if you don’t take steps to address it. We hope this article has helped you see the scope of the issue and some ways you can address it within your organization.

Until next time, cheers!

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Sources