Young adults, who make up the majority of the future U

Poor physical and mental health, also reinforced during the pandemic, remain key indicators as well

  • Loneliness can be a barrier to employee productivity. Less than half of lonely employees say they are able to work efficiently (47%) and perform to the best of their abilities (48%), compared to about two-thirds of non-lonely employees who are able to perform efficiently (64%) and at their peak performance (65%). In addition, more than 42% of lonely employees said they were “mentally somewhere else” while at work in the past three months – more than double that of non-lonely workers (18%).
  • Employees experiencing loneliness are more likely to be dissatisfied with their job. Lonely employees are more than three times as likely to be dissatisfied with their job (21%) as employees who are not lonely (7%).
  • The poor health associated with loneliness can interfere with workplace performance. Three in 10 employees who are lonely report not feeling well or feeling sick while at work in the past three months, compared to just 14% of non-lonely employees. More lonely employees reported that their physical or mental and emotional health interfered with their normal work-related activities or performance at least moderately in the past four weeks compared to non-lonely workers. Nearly one in five lonely employees (19%) reported that their mental or emotional health “extremely” interfered with work in the last month alone.

Confronting the Loneliness Epidemic

While the loneliness epidemic continues, the fact that loneliness levels mostly remained static despite the pandemic can be viewed as a bright spot – but, not one that doesn’t require action. S. workforce, are still much more likely to be lonely than older adults. The lack of connectivity with family, friends, and colleagues that in many ways was reinforced during the pandemic remains a key indicator of loneliness. The fact remains that there is much more work to be done writ large and among specific populations.

For the first time since Cigna began tracking loneliness in 2018, adults who identify with underrepresented racial and ethnic groups are now more likely to be lonely than the total adult population, as well as the total White population – by at least 10 points. While this aligns with the disparate impact the pandemic had on the health and well-being of people from underrepresented groups in this country, it is a new indicator of inequities that should be addressed.

It will take private and public sectors coming together to drive systemic change, but employers can take more immediate steps to help their community of employees build and maintain their health, strength, and energy. They can start by focusing on those who are more likely to be experiencing loneliness – younger people, people from underrepresented groups, and parents – and find new ways to intervene and engage. Three things employers can do today:

Poor physical and mental health, also reinforced during the pandemic, remain key indicators as well

  • Help build and reinforce social connectivity at work and in the community. Prioritize activities that bring people together in-person and virtually. Leverage all opportunities, including team meetings and events, volunteer activities, employee resource groups, and more to establish connections between coworkers, managers, and senior leaders. Even larger meetings, such as town hall events, can boost connectivity by featuring employees, inspirational customer stories, and real-time engagement opportunities.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, and offer health and well-being benefits that meet current and evolving needs. Reinforce the importance of mental health by prioritizing work-life balance and encouraging the use of paid time off. Provide a spectrum of services and support for mental health concerns impacting employees and their families, and work to destigmatize utilization.