The rising epidemic of workplace loneliness and why we have no office friends
From The Telegraph:
We are living in a landscape of loneliness. We have the world’s first Loneliness Minister, Tracey Crouch, and a survey by the Jo Cox Commission in 2017 revealed that nine million people in the UK are affected by it. Loneliness is not only bad for our minds: it’s bad for our health, too, with research showing that chronic long-term loneliness can be as bad as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day, and can increase the risk of blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
It is perhaps no surprise, then, that workplace loneliness is on the rise. It almost sounds like the start of a bad joke: how can you spend all day surrounded by colleagues and still feel alone? But with technology replacing human interaction, heavier workloads (which means less socialising) and the popularity of working from home, it is increasingly the case. A 2014 survey by Relate revealed that 42 per cent of us don’t have a single friend at the office - pretty sobering, considering that British people work some of the longest hours in Europe.
“Despite sitting on a floor with hundreds of other people, work can feel really lonely,” says 31-year-old Sarah, who works for a prestigious advertising agency in central London. “The company is huge but my team is small and we don’t really work together. I’m naturally quite shy too, so it can be hard to speak to start a conversation with someone in another department. I often feel left out and excluded.”