How to Lessen Loneliness and Boost Belonging at Work

12 min of reading.

In this Covid-19 Pandemic, people are lonelier than ever. They’re feeling lonely especially among Generation Z. Since stay-at-home orders started, 75 % of individuals say they feel extra socially isolated.

Loneliness just isn’t solely negatively impacting individual’s health but also worker engagement, productiveness and loyalty. Work is a serious cause of loneliness. Remote working, switching to a brand new staff, consuming lunch whereas answering emails or having nobody to speak to on an “off” day can all contribute to individuals feeling lonely.

When staff feel lonely, they’re less committed and less approachable, which makes it less likely that others will ask for help, which compounds the issue. The alternative to minimize loneliness and enhance belonging lies within the hands of group leaders.

Reduce your lonliness

Leaders can extinguish loneliness

Perhaps the 2 things individuals need most in life are meaningful relationships and meaningful work. Organizational leaders play a unique role in that they will deliver each of these objects.

The rising concern of psychological wellbeing and loneliness presents a chance for organizations and leaders to enhance the well-being and wellbeing of its staff and thus boost belonging, engagement and efficiency. Here are seven methods to do it.

1. Your food is a priority 

Employees who say they’ve colleagues they like eating lunch with are less lonely. When individuals choose to eat a meal collectively, their body receives indicators to relax, as a result of human biology knows we’d have by no means eaten a meal with an individual from a threatening tribe. Meals decrease our guard and open us up for deep connection.

For the big firms even pays the bill for these so-called “Power Lunches.”

2. Socialize smarter

Create connections past conventional socializing. Although the socializing outside of work (happy hours, company events, and so forth.) can reduce loneliness, group conversations tend to remain shallow, and people have a tendency to speak about what they’ve in common, which is work. One-on-one dialogue or doing an exercise collectively is extra more likely to create deeper connections.

For example, some UK firms have created connection areas, similar to a “Chatty Table or Friendly Bench,” where the expectation is for people to connect when present in these areas. Other organizations have created micro-communities where individuals connect based on comparable interests, similar to running before work or salsa dancing. 

3. Personal Talk

When individuals feel they don’t want to hide their true selves at work, they are less lonely.

One of the first hallmarks of a high-performing staff is psychological safety, the assumption that you simply won’t be punished if you make a mistake. Create opportunities for people to share features of their private lives to see the human behind the job. Ways to immediate private sharing could be to have a convey your youngsters or mother and father to work day, present a digital tour of your home workplace or carve out 5 minutes every assembly to have somebody share a private anecdote.

For instance, Vivek Murthy, the previous U.S. Surgeon General, created the “Inside Scoop” train the place, his staff devoted 5 minutes per week where one particular person to share photos of something they wished so long as it wasn’t associated to their present job. One researcher on Murthy’s staff was perceived as very detailed oriented and “nerdy” by her colleagues, however that modified as soon as they noticed the photographs of her marathon coaching and heard about how she certified for the U.S. Olympic staff. She noticed herself as an athlete, not only a researcher, and now her colleagues noticed that too.

4. Build rapport

Leaders ought to model what effective rapport-building looks and feels like. Here’s how one can construct a fast, high-quality connection.

  • Look for uncommon commonalities. Similarities that you simply share which can be rare.
  • Ask open-ended questions. Display real curiosity for the opposite person. (Don’t put them on the spot or cross any lines.)
    • What is probably the most significant factor that happened to you this week?
    • What are you reading, watching or making that’s bringing you joy?
  • Self-disclosure. Share something about yourself.

Consider creating environments where two people can discover the above one another. At occasions, a proper exercise can give the necessary permission to ask deeper questions of a group of staff and the mutuality is in-built.


When staff feel that technology helps them make significant connections with co-workers and when technology just isn’t perceived as an alternative for in-person interactions, staff are much less lonely.

Ubiquitous connectivity has eroded many boundaries we once had between work and life. Communication will be impersonal and relentless if acceptable boundaries aren’t established.

Establish communication boundaries among the staff that allows extra meaningful connections and ensures each person is heard.

6. Promote work-life balance

Employees are less lonely amongst employers that promote good work-life balance and after they can “leave work at work.”

The work-life balance must be pursued and persistently re-evaluated any team. Enabling telecommuting, prioritizing volunteering, supporting the trip providing childcare and increasing parental leave are all examples of how organizations will help staff strike higher work-life balance.

For instance, Facebook and IKEA not too long ago started providing a new mother and father (moms and dads) 4 months of paid parental leave. And JPMorgan Chase made headlines in 2016 for telling its staff they should not work on weekends as a manner to enhance their work-life balance.

7. Help each other

Helping others helps people feel much less lonely. Adam Grant, organizational psychologist and New York Times bestselling writer, shared on his podcast that he was feeling alone one month, so he started sending emails to individuals telling them why he appreciated them. As an outcome, he felt less lonely.

Additionally, relationships don’t have to be lasting to be meaningful. A temporary 40-second constructive interaction has a major impact on each individual. It can alleviate loneliness as long as the moment leaves a person feeling seen. For instance, providing a pen to somebody who might be trying to fill out a form can make somebody feel seen and fewer pressured.

Leaders should encourage their staff to proactively look for methods to assist someone else. As demonstrated by Grant, it doesn’t take loads of effort to manoeuvre from lonely to connected.

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