Loneliness in employees’ personal or work lives has potentially serious consequences for employers. From a human capital perspective, employees experiencing loneliness are more distracted, less collaborative and less productive at work. From a health perspective, loneliness is considered a risk factor for mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders and cognitive decline as well as physical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic pain and fatigue. Loneliness is also associated with higher rates of premature death. What’s really sobering is that an estimated 30% - 40% of working adults report that they experience loneliness.
Loneliness in the workplace is seen as such an important issue that the theme of the recent HERO Think Tank* meeting was, “"Loneliness in an Era of Hyper-connectivity: The Employer's Role in Addressing Social Isolation." Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, a professor at Harvard Medical School, shared his research and experience and described “The Unlonely Project,” which is a resource facilitated by his not for profit organization, The Foundation for Art and Healing. This initiative uses art in many forms – poetry, writing, painting, music – as a facilitator for connecting people in meaningful ways. When people come together around art, each one benefits when they make, share and receive what they and others produce. Checkout the website – and consider the possibilities for connecting people in your workforce!
* The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Think Tank is a not for profit organization dedicated to identifying, researching, and promoting best practices for employee health and well-being.