Two-thirds of UK employees do not feel a sense of connection and belonging at work, according to research by employee engagement and HR technology firm Reward Gateway.
Its survey of 1,000 UK employees in organisations with a headcount of more than 100 also found that 24% of respondents often experience loneliness at work. Gen Z workers aged between 18 and 24 years were the most likely age group to feel this way,with 32% saying this is the case, despite 81% workers having a social network at work, the highest of any age group. Conversely, 9% of staff aged 55 and above experience loneliness at work.
Full-time office workers are lonelier (26%) than home, hybrid and deskless workers (26%, 21% and 25% respectively) and those who report feeling this are half as likely as their peers to go above and beyond for their organisation (16% compared to 30%). Lonely people are twice as likely to have taken 10 or more unplanned days off due to poor mental health.
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Those who revealed that their financial wellbeing needs a lot of work are more than twice as likely to feel lonely than those who say it is excellent (48% compared to 20%), with levels of stress and self-doubt also doubled.
More than half (54%) said recognition for work would help them feel more connected. When reward and recognition are regardded as good or excellent, employees are eight times more likely to be happy at work. When employees feel recognised and rewarded well, reports of frequent loneliness, self-doubt, or burnout drop by half.
Nebel Crowhurst, chief people officer at Reward Gateway, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is escalating the loneliness epidemic in the UK. Now, more than ever, workplaces can help people reset the balance, empowering connection both at work and in our personal lives. We should all expect employers to support us through recognising our hard work and providing high-quality rewards that make meaningful experiences and connections more possible.
“If employers listen to concerns and recognise and reward hard work, they will help Gen Z to feel more connected in the workplace, resulting in a happier and healthier generation leading us into the future.”