Cigna: Loneliness and the Workplace
Against the backdrop of a rising mental health crisis in America, three in five adults (61%) are considered lonely, a seven-percentage point increase from 2018. This puts loneliness at epidemic levels in the nation.
We partnered with Cigna to develop and analyze the research from the second annual U.S. Loneliness Index, which aims to better understand this multifaceted issue. With the average American spending 90,000 hours at work over the course of their adult life, our 2020 study set out to further explore the impact of loneliness, including how it is linked to the modern workplace.
LONELINESS AT WORK
Our survey uncovered critical drivers and consequences of workplace loneliness.
- Americans who feel as though they work less than they want, have poor relationships with their coworkers, or do not have a good work-life balance, are lonelier.
- More than one out of ten lonely workers say their work is often lower quality than it should be.
- On average, lonely workers say they think about quitting their job more than twice as often as non-lonely workers.
COMBATTING LONELINESS AT WORK
To help combat the loneliness epidemic, our survey identified key components of a comprehensive approach to addressing workplace loneliness.
- Workplace culture. Employees report feeling less lonely when they can be their true selves at work and when their employers promote a good work-life balance.
- Technology. When employees feel that technology helps them make meaningful connections with coworkers yet is not perceived as a replacement for in-person interactions, they are less lonely.
- Friends. Employees who say they have colleagues they like eating lunch with, or colleagues they feel are their friends, are less lonely.
Combatting loneliness at work should be a priority for employees and employers alike, because if we can begin to connect with people more productively at work, we’ll be more productive doing our work. And that is a winning strategy we can all agree on.
For more on these research findings, access the full report, HERE.
*Cigna is an Edelman and Edelman Intelligence client.