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Loneliness At Work – Retain Employees with Human Connection

Stine Fjell
3 min read
Employee Experience
Loneliness At Work – Retain Employees with Human Connection

Increasing the human connection is just as good for the soul of your company as it is for profitability.

A question for HR and line manager: do you know if your employees have friends at work? If not, maybe you should, because increasing the human connection is just as good for the soul of your company as it is for profitability.

Why is work a social thing?

Work is done with people, and at the very least, for people. At the same time, you are one person with a job to do. When those personal and social gears are out of alignment, when you’re not connecting with the people you spend so many hours a day with, you get lonely.

More than 40% of employees do not have a single close friend at work, according to a new survey of 5000 people by relationship charity Relate. Further a study published in 2011 by professors from California State University, Sacramento and the Wharton School of Business—found that “greater employee loneliness led to poorer task, team roles, and relational performance.

The Loneliness and isolation of employees is not a new story but its received relatively small attention by HR and managers, even though we have studies to confirm the huge effect it can have on business.

As the economy slowly recovered and the recession eased and the job market turned a bit friendlier, companies wake up to a new world starting to realize the possible challenge with employee disengagement.

It’s time to connect with our people again

Relationships matter because they help us feel connected, making us more motivated and productive. They matter because your business doesn’t happen with ideas and plans alone. It does not happen on your computer screens either. Business happens between people. Always has, and always will. Employee satisfaction is a cornerstone to business success.

Secondly it is much easier to share feedback with someone if you have built a relation to someone, or ask someone for advice if you have invested in the relationship. That’s how people and business grow. We’re beginning to see a shift in how personal these relationships get: hugging is extremely effective at reducign lonliness and stress as the upcoming concerns for HR and managers. It also encourage understanding and empathy between people, resulting in stronger relations. And healthy relationship contribute to an overall success as I stated above.

Political correctness has defeated the hug

Psychologists believe everyone needs at least one hug every day to help them cope with the stresses and strains of 21st century living. Dr. David Holmes, of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Political correctness is partly to blame as we have been conditioned not to touch anyone anymore as it can easily be deemed inappropriate. “In addition, these days we are just too busy to hug. We have forgotten how to hug as no-one does it anymore.

But the study also stated that more than ¾ of the people involved responded that they would really appreciate being hugged more than they already did.

But be aware; It is totally up to you, and if you like hugs, hugging might grow your personality, improve your relationships, your career and business. I would say, GO FOR IT!

We’re all in this together

For those who think that loneliness is just an intensely personal, private problem, you should know that it`s much more than that. I would say it is a collective issue we need to speak about. In a world where generosity is too often regulated to a non-consideration, I think it`s time to pay wholehearted attention to the people you work with. Reach out. Connect. Share feedback. We are in this together.

Join our conversation 

We’d love to know your thoughts on this article. Meet us over on LinkedIn to join the conversation right now!


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