A survey by Glassdoor has confirmed what many would expect: remote working can be a cause for increased levels of loneliness among workers. It’s no surprise to us all that conversations about loneliness have exploded since the pandemic – it was a very common experience during that time of forced isolation. Remote work naturally equally grew in that time, but Glassdoor’s survey confirms that loneliness has increased as a result.
This is not to condemn remote working and hybrid working at all – there are a plethora of benefits and for some people it really suits their lives and personality. But we should recognise the potential drawbacks and look for solutions. Glassdoor’s survey was conducted online and took answers form over 1,000 U.S based knowledge workers between the ages of 22 and 64. It found that 31% of remote employees feel lonely at work, compared to 23% of hybrid employees and 21% of in-person workers. It’s around a 10 percent increase, but worth noting the level of loneliness at work is still fairly high for those who do attend the office.
Furthermore, Glassdoor’s survey found that those who do have ‘work best friends’ have a better time of it. Employees feel more supported in the workplace, enjoy work more and feel less stress when they have friends to confide in at work. However, only 51 per cent of all workers said they have a best friend at their job. Glassdoor chief economist Aaron Terrazas also pointed out potential pitfalls with workplace friends:
“Workplace friendships will never be the same as friendships outside the workplace, and it’s important to keep in mind that you may need to continue working with work friends even after a friendship sours.”
Promotions and work politics mean friendships in the workplace always have potential rupture, no matter how strong. It all points to the need for people to have other solutions to combat loneliness in the modern working world. It’s great having no commute, but the commute and the workplace can be the springboard for a social life. The development of social discovery apps could be really important to combat these issues, and give people the platform to find others in similar situations to them, looking for companions who can share in their hobbies and interests outside of work.