Nearly half of American workers report feeling alone or left out in the workplace in a recent study. They find it hard to integrate into a team. This could be the result of a variety of factors, such as being a new employee in a long-established team, for instance. Some professionals also struggle as a result of their role. Indeed, when your expertise requires solitary planning, isolation happens naturally. Unfortunately, it is a global phenomenon. More and more professionals report feeling lonely in the workplace.
What does workplace loneliness mean? Every worker has different needs. Some prefer alone time to be productive, for instance. Yet, they also need social interactions with their co-workers. Others want to collaborate throughout a project with other members of the team. Regardless of how loneliness is perceived, it can dramatically affect your employees’ mental health, productivity, and job satisfaction. People want to feel they belong to a business. Workplace loneliness removes the individual sense of purpose in a business. Lonely workers are not just likely to be depressed. They are also more likely to quit and take their talent away. What can a business do to fight workplace isolation?
Providing relocation accommodation
New team members can struggle to integrate into an existing team. For employees who have to relocate when they join the business, accommodation stress can hinder their efforts to socialize with their coworkers. However, providing temporary accommodations can allow them to get to know their teams. The choice of accommodation is diverse. Some businesses in busy cities look for convenient properties in the centre such as hdb for sale, for instance. These properties need to be at a short commutable distance from the office, allowing new employees to discover the town and spend time outside of work with their teams. It’s a great option to explore the new city and seek a permanent home.
Introduce social events
It can be intimidating for new and old employees to make friends in the workplace. Many are left isolated as a result of the 9-to-5 schedule. It’s hard to reach out during working hours, and once the bell rings the end of the day, introverts are left alone. With a strict separation between work life and social life, people can find it challenging to make friends at work. That’s precisely where companies that focus on social events can change the situation for the better. Organising a social gathering on Friday evenings, for example, or throwing a casual lunch at work for everyone, can help bring people together in a different context. The best options for a social event outside of work include:
- Escape room nights, either online or on-site once it’s safe again;
- Quiz nights, with teams determined at random;
- Hobby craft workshop.
Rethink your office layout
As odd as it might sound, workplace isolation is often the creation of your office layout. Open-plan offices are a popular alternative to the old cubicle setting or the single office rooms. However, an open plan layout may not be suitable for a collaborative environment. Indeed, removing wall partitions between desks doesn’t mean that people are likely to work together. Instead, it can be useful to try out different layouts to help employees develop a positive, cooperative approach. The newsroom layout, for example, clusters desks together for teams that need to work on a shared project. Remote teams can also use a similar approach with digital management tools that help them connect in a way a newsroom layout would. The ideal office should combine different layouts to suit employees who need quiet and peace to concentrate and those who are more productive with others.
Name office mentors
If you remember your time at university, every new student had a mentor they could turn to for advice and guidance on how to find their way inside the new environment. An office mentor can provide a similar service, helping new employees to get to know the business and its actors. Additionally, the office mentor can help bridge the gap between the new talent and the existing team, introducing them to the right interlocutors.
Don’t let conflicts arise
Passive conflicts and discrimination happen in every office. When someone new arrives in an existing team, team members may unwillingly leave the newcomer out. Social patterns are already established, and many don’t want to change their habits to accommodate an “intruder”. However, this leads to workplace isolation. It’s the role of the office manager to stop passive isolation practices before they damage your talent and business.
Workplace isolation is an employee’s and an employer’s worst nightmare. However, more often than not, the painful experience can be easily avoided with strategic decisions. Breaking patterns that facilitate loneliness at work, such as the stress of finding new accommodation or the challenges of making friends, can create a stable and fully-integrated team.