Working 9 to 5, what a way to make us lonely

This survey was conducted by Censuswide for Reward Gateway and surveyed 1000 employees in the UK, in organisations with a headcount over 100. For the global report, click here. About Reward Gateway Reward Gateway helps companies engage, motivate and retain people – every day, all over the world. Partnering with over 4,500 companies in 23 countries, we empower more than 8 million users to connect, appreciate and support one another to make the world a better place to work. Our unified employee engagement hub provides the best of recognition, reward, wellbeing, surveys, benefits and discounts that support talent acquisition, retention and values-driven growth.  

Over two-thirds of UK employees do not feel a sense of connection and belonging at work, according to new research*.

Loneliness, disconnect, and isolation are all in a day’s work, according to the study. It finds that almost a quarter of respondents (24%) often experience loneliness at work. Surprisingly, Gen Z workers, aged between 18 and 24 years, are the most likely age group to feel this way (32%). That’s over three times more than people aged 55+ (9%), despite four in five (81%) Gen Z workers having a social network at work – the most of any age group.

As more companies push for the return to office, employers should watch out: the results reveal that full time office workers are lonelier (26%) than home, hybrid and deskless workers (25.6%, 21%, 24.6% respectively). The results suggest that the occasional ‘watercooler’ chat is no longer enough to keep Brits enthused and empowered in the office.

Feeling lonely affects how well we can do our jobs; those who report as lonely are half as likely as their peers to go ‘above and beyond’ for their organisation (16% compared to 30%). Loneliness also means more leaves of absence, with lonely people twice as likely to have taken 10 or more unplanned days off due to poor mental health.

The current cost of living crisis could well be behind the disconnect of workers today. Those who say their financial wellbeing needs a lot of work are over twice as likely to feel lonely than those who say it’s excellent (48% compared to 20%). Their levels of stress and self-doubt are also doubled, proving the opportunity employers have to improve lives through everyday financial wellbeing support.

Recognition for work is a powerful solution to the problem of employees feeling disconnected. Over half of workers surveyed (54%) said this would help them feel more connected – the highest rated of all suggestions. That recognition must be high quality, however; when reward and recognition are good or excellent, employees are eight times more likely to be happy at work, compared to poor reward and recognition programmes. And when employees are recognised and rewarded well, reports of frequent loneliness, self-doubt, or burnout are slashed in half.

Nebel Crowhurst, Chief People Officer at Reward Gateway, says: “The cost of living crisis is escalating the loneliness epidemic in the UK. Socialising is more expensive. Travel budgets become tighter. And a lot of us are simply focussing on getting through the day.

“Now, more than ever, workplaces can help people reset the balance – empowering connection both at work and in our personal lives. We should all expect employers to support us through recognising our hard work, and providing high quality rewards that make meaningful experiences and connections more possible.

“It’s particularly worrying to see that our youngest workers are already feeling isolated in the workplace. This trend doesn’t have to continue. If employers listen to concerns and recognise and reward hard work, they will help Gen Z to feel more connected in the workplace, resulting in a happier and healthier generation leading us into the future.”

*Research from Reward Gateway

    Read more

    Latest News

    Read More

    Can salary sacrifice schemes boost workplace sustainability?

    7 December 2023


    Receive the latest HR news and strategic content

    Please note, as per the GDPR Legislation, we need to ensure you are ‘Opted In’ to receive updates from ‘theHRDIRECTOR’. We will NEVER sell, rent, share or give away your data to third parties. We only use it to send information about our products and updates within the HR space To see our Privacy Policy – click here

    Latest HR Jobs

    University of Dundee – Research and Innovation Services (RIS} Salary: £45,585 to £54,395. Grade 8, per annum

    Swansea University – Human ResourcesSalary: £25,138 to £27,979 per annum (pro-rated for part time) together with the NEST Pension Benefits. Grade 05

    British Geological Survey – BGS Human Resources and Learning & DevelopmentSalary: £43,116 to £47,076 per annum, pro rata (depending on qualifications and experience). UKRI Pay

    Queen Mary University of LondonSalary: £38,165 to £44,722

    Read the latest digital issue of theHRDIRECTOR for FREE

    Read the latest digital issue of theHRDIRECTOR for FREE