Feeling lonely at work

You may be shocked to hear that in a study done by Cigna health care well over 60% of employees from 18 to 37 years of age say that they feel lonely at work; the older crowd seldom reports this reaction—and these data were collected before the pandemic.  Even having a good friend at work doesn’t seem to help the younger employees.  Where is this loneliness coming from?

Some possible sources:  The under-37s seem to have values that don’t always fit company objectives; the work isn’t meaningful to them.  They tend to avoid masked or unmasked face-to-face communications or even phone calls, opting instead for email or text.  Plus–this is a biggie–the more they use social media, the lonelier these younger employees get. Working from home, not seeing colleagues, doesn’t help either.

For companies, lonely employees mean more sick days taken, lower performance ratings, and the inability to function well on teams at work. And a moody person at work can affect the whole department—loneliness is catching.  There are some obvious changes you could make in your own life to try to avoid loneliness.  But, it’s probably best, as you head off on your new career, to choose 1) a field that requires communications that are consistent with who you are as a person and 2) a company whose mission you can believe in.