Mental Health Monday: The Cost of Loneliness

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Mental Health Monday: The Cost of Loneliness

Today we are sharing the wisdom from a great piece recently put out by the Harvard Business Review titled: The Loneliness Epidemic.

In this piece author Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General, focuses on reducing isolation at work and the connection to profit and losses.  To establish a baseline of relevancy Murthy reports staggering statistics about the rates of loneliness in the United States:

“Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. In the workplace, many employees — and half of CEOs — report feeling lonely in their roles.”

Here again we find ourselves facing the facts that what may appear to be unrelated to business, finances, economy, and development is actually very closely connected.  The article in HBR underlines the roots of loneliness, the health implications, and the ways that current business practices may be (unknowingly) contributing to the increase of loneliness. This is significant in a society that often spends the majority of waking hours with co-workers–who we often feel don’t truly know or understand us.  Murthy points out that this disconnection, “isn’t just bad for our health; it’s also bad for business.” 

It may surprise readers to know (or if you have experienced this it may not) that at work, “loneliness reduces task performance, limits creativity, and impairs other aspects of executive function such as reasoning and decision making.”  For organizational leaders and those looking to maximize the potential of their company or the quality of their product what we don’t know can hurt us. 

To decrease this loneliness and improve outcomes for employees creating intentional opportunities for connection is key.  “Researchers for Gallup found that having strong social connections at work makes employees more likely to be engaged with their jobs and produce higher-quality work, and less likely to fall sick or be injured.” 

To learn more about this epidemic and how to strengthen social and emotional connections check out the article: The Loneliness Epidemic and begin asking the critical questions about how those who work under, with, and around you may be struggling in this regard and how that effects your bottom line. 


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