Three-quarters of UK office employees expect loneliness to be addressed by HR

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According to a new study from Silicon Reef, a collaborative technology consultant, almost three-quarters of office workers (73%) want companies to address loneliness among those who work remotely or flexibly.

Colleagues think it is the role of leaders to take action, which they say should include providing opportunities for mental breaks and support (44%) as well as greater social online contact with employees (41%). A fifth (19%) believe that software advancements (For example, like the metaverse) would be beneficial.

When working flexibly, more than a third (36%) of office workers have experienced loneliness. The problem is exacerbated in younger age groups. Loneliness was reported by nearly twice as much by 18-34 year olds (41%) in comparison those over 55 (24%). Northern Ireland indicates to have the most lonely employees (54%), whereas London has 31%.

However, loneliness isn’t the only issue. Half of all respondents reported a lack of motivation (49%) or a detachment from coworkers (48%). This has made it more difficult for them to focus (51%), communicate with coworkers (46%), and feel productive (42%). Only a quarter (25%) have experienced none of the negative consequences asked about. 

In this setting, two-fifths (40%) of employees work somewhere other than the office or at home at least once a month, with the majority (29%) doing so at least once a week. More over a quarter (28%) say they use a “third workplace” to avoid loneliness or a sense of being boxed in and constrained.

Many folks picked out-of-the-ordinary locations. Surprisingly, cafés and gardens outnumber co-working places. This includes bars (14%), vehicles (11%), and even sleeping in a tent or caravan (7%).

Many individuals believe that because people are left to try and solve issues of loneliness themselves, the technology to address this is still trailing behind. Half (50%) feel that some parts of remote and hybrid working were implemented too quickly and should have been revised.

Workers, in particular, desire better methods to communicate with and feel connected with their team (29%), better ways to join meetings remotely without interruptions (19%), and better ways to exchange information quickly and securely (17%). Only 10% of those polled believed that none of the technological solutions presented to them would be beneficial.

Alex Graves, CEO of Silicon Reef, comments on the findings, saying, “Our study clearly reveals that loneliness has become a big workplace issue in the aftermath of hybrid and flexible working.” And people want to see results. Leaders should take attention, because if things continue to deteriorate, we will have an unhappy workforce, which is bad for everyone — workers, leaders, consumers, and society as a whole.

“By putting the correct technologies in place, as well as taking other crucial actions, we can address the loneliness caused by the pandemic and help people be happier at work.” Software won’t fix everything on its own, but it’s an important component of the problem – and a good place to start for companies. It provides immediate and real assistance.”

See how HealthBoxHR can help your organization establish a communication channel that’s always open to your employees – with our Mental Health Management Tool your employees can discreetly log their mental health status and request any support needed from managers & with MyChatBox you can always receive and send messages to your employees straight from the HealthBoxHR platform – say goodbye to old diary entries and lost documents and say hello to HealthBoxHR!

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