Mental health at workplace: Loneliness emerges as a key concern for employers and professionals

New Delhi | Published: April 29, 2019 4:45:15 PM

While technology and personal interactions are not contrary, the tech should be used to reduce workloads and improve quality interaction.

Mental health at workplace, Loneliness, employers, professionals, health newsWhile technology and personal interactions are not contrary, the tech should be used to reduce workloads and improve quality interaction.

By Pooja Priyamvada

Modern day work life almost demands a kind of frantic workaholic routine. Sigmund Freud rightly said that love and work are both “the cornerstones of our humanness.” But most modern-day professionals are drowning in work and technology and in spite being “connected” 24×7 feeling the pangs of loneliness increasingly. Loneliness is becoming a real concern for employers. If left unaddressed, loneliness and feelings of isolation amongst employees cannot only impact productivity but can also be detrimental to their morale and mental health.

Research indicates that the impact of loneliness on mortality is almost equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness can induce several negative consequences like the risk of depression and cardiovascular ailments, lower immunity and sometimes even shorter lifespans.

Today communication technology allows people to get connected across the world from within the confines of their office. There is a rise in open floor plan offices in almost all organizations with the aim to increase interaction and good communication between colleagues. Surveys conclude that most working Americans spend 1/3 rd of their day at work and yet don’t consider any co-workers as friends. So there is an apparent lack of connection between people in the workforce.

Other factors that contribute to loneliness are increased use of smartphones/Teleworking and difference in personalities. A lot of employees nowadays work using the phones or are distantly located, this is bound to trigger a lack of team spirit and loneliness over a period of time.

Introverts and extroverts made to work together in teams without any bonding exercises could often be a disaster. Feelings of preferential treatment may lead to resentment and sometimes self-imposed isolation among team leaders.

READ: Women in full-time jobs more prone to incur mental health issues than men in the same jobs

Loneliness is an emerging concern in modern workplaces and employers can take several steps to address it and if not eliminate it completely at least reduce it significantly so as it doesn’t affect work outcomes.

The state of social connection between employees must be evaluated from time to time and leisure activities must be undertaken as a team to build this. Team leaders must initiate emotional bonding right from the day a new employee comes on board.

While technology and personal interactions are not contrary, the tech should be used to reduce workloads and improve quality interaction.

(The author is an awarded blogger, translator, and a social media expert. Views expressed are personal.)

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