8 min read

Workplace Loneliness: A Serious Roadblock to Organisational Success

By CHOYS Community
18 Dec 2023

The modern workplace isn't just a location for work; it's a space where social wellbeing and productivity are intricately connected.

But what if your workforce is dealing with workplace isolation? According to a 2022 survey by EY, 8 out of 10 employees have felt lonely in the workplace.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management

Why Is There a Need to Address Workplace Loneliness?

According to EY’s Belonging Barometer 2.0, more than 80% of employees from around the globe have felt or still feel lonely while at work. Additionally, 49% of them feel even lonelier now than they did before the pandemic.

Source: Forbes

Since workplace isolation and mental health of employees are intricately connected, feeling lonely at work can cause employees to take more sick days in the long run.

However, the effects of loneliness in the workplace go beyond just affecting wellbeing. Workplace loneliness is a significant business concern with consequences for performance, engagement, and staff retention.

Studies conducted by The Wharton School and California State University have shown that employees experiencing greater loneliness tend to have poorer job performance and weaker commitment to their organisations.


The High Cost of Workplace Loneliness

Loneliness isn't just an emotional burden—it's a substantial financial one too.

In the UK, the annual cost of loneliness is staggering, amounting to approximately £2.5 billion. This cost is primarily attributed to increased staff turnover, lower wellbeing and productivity, and illness-related absence. In individual terms, severe loneliness costs around £9,900 per person per year due to its detrimental effects on wellbeing, health, and productivity.

Source: GOV.UK

What Leads to Employees Feeling Lonely at Work?

Workplace loneliness can arise from a lack of belonging and distrust among team members. Other factors that can induce loneliness and feelings of isolation in your workplace are:

  • Company Culture: Incompatible workplace policies can make employees feel like they don't fit in, leading to isolation.
  • Introversion and Social Anxiety: Introverts and people dealing with social anxiety can have difficulty connecting with others.
  • Groupism: Exclusive groups can exacerbate loneliness, creating divisions among employees when they start feeling left out.
  • Work Setup: Different work schedules, remote work, or siloed teams can isolate employees from their colleagues.

How to Tactfully Address Loneliness Among Employees?

Addressing loneliness at work doesn't always require grand gestures; sometimes, it's the small, thoughtful actions that make a big difference.

Let's explore some simple yet effective ways to foster connections in the workplace:

1. Create a Safe Space

Make your people feel psychologically safe so that they feel it's okay to take social risks at work. When the environment feels safe, employees are more likely to share ideas, ask questions, or admit mistakes. Leaders and teammates should encourage and support each other to become more interactive.

2. Exhibit Empathy

Creating a psychologically safe environment at work starts with leaders practising empathy. You can have empathy workshops where team members ask each other questions that make them think and feel. It's a way to understand each other better and build a friendlier workplace.

3. Give Your Team More Independence

Team-building exercises alone won't combat loneliness in the long term. In addition to workshops and interactive sessions, organisations should make structural changes to promote higher interdependence.

This involves designing work for increased interactivity, regular resource exchange, and collaborative partnerships. Rethinking day-to-day work operations is essential, ensuring that they promote meaningful connections among team members.

Employees must be made to remember why they work together, decide how they'll talk and work together, and have clear rules. It's also good to have a shared identity and clear roles to keep the team members stable, so they don't change too often.

4. Motivate Employees to Take the First Step

Organisations should make it worth it for employees to reach out to each other. This can be done through employee engagement platforms, like CHOYS, which focus on team bonding and belonging. CHOYS encourages employees to bond over mutual interests, healthy competition, and mutual recognition of each other’s achievements.

With CHOYS, organisations have seen an 80% increase in engagement levels within the first month of onboarding. CHOYS ensures high engagement levels through its gamification and interactive features that are personalised for each workplace’s unique requirements.

Final Takeaway

Employees’ feelings of loneliness at work aren’t just their personal struggle; it might lead to the organisation incurring loss due to decreased productivity and illness-related absence.

Whether it's due to company culture or remote setups, loneliness and isolation affect motivation and work quality. The good news? Addressing it doesn't need grand gestures; small things like creating a safe space, promoting empathy, and encouraging team bonding by leaders can make a real difference.

Platforms like CHOYS offer interactive and engaging tools that significantly boost employees’ connection and engagement. By onboarding their employees on CHOYS, organisations can turn loneliness into a thing of the past and create a workplace where everyone feels connected and performs at their best.

Contact us or schedule a demo to speak to our team of wellbeing experts.


  1. SHRM: Lonely at Work
  2. Forbes: Three Innovative Solutions For Overcoming Workplace Loneliness
  4. GOV.UK: Employers and loneliness