3 min read

The lack of day-to-day interaction with fellow human beings can become isolating over time.

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Loneliness in the workplace – something which is rarely discussed openly, but which is certainly being experienced by some of our community. Having now started our EA/PA Mentoring programme and with numerous conversations held, individuals earlier on in their career all the way up to those with many years of experience, can and do experience loneliness in the workplace.

With hybrid working now very much the norm, and work from home days coveted and appreciated, let’s not lose sight of how the lack of day-to-day interaction with fellow human beings can become isolating over time.

Starting a new role in a business which operates hybrid working and/or a business with a long-standing team (where relationships have already been formed), can be intimidating for the ‘new person’ and exacerbate feelings of isolation and/or loneliness.

For new employees, there should be a thorough induction process, with introductions made and opportunities created for the new person to get to know their team. Events and meetings can be organised to allow time spent together and for relationships to be formed (both in person and virtually). Sometimes the simplest of things can make the difference – encourage members of the existing team to grab a coffee, get lunch together or complete an office related task together. Not only will this allow your new employee to feel more welcomed and able to instigate communication internally, but it also increases employee retention as all feel welcomed, included, and considered. Welcoming and actively integrating new employees into your business can prevent feelings of loneliness and improves employee retention.

For existing employees now very much used to their hybrid working pattern, loneliness can still be felt. This is especially apparent where they may be the only support person within a business, with no colleagues to approach, vent, or bounce ideas off. Businesses need to do regular check ins and think of reasons to reach out and check all is ok. By doing so, you prevent that person reaching the point of no return, retain that member of staff and make them feel valued, appreciated, and cared for. And we all need that.

Busy employees can also experience loneliness in the workplace if their workload is so large (or the pressure so great) that they decline opportunities to meet as a team, so they can focus on getting everything done. Where you see this happening, take note, and address the workload situation. Whilst time management, prioritisation and workload go hand in hand, it should never be at the cost of your employee’s wellbeing, job satisfaction and overall happiness in post.

What can be done?

Loneliness in the workplace poses a threat to employee well-being, which in turn can impact productivity and employee attendance.

With the lack of human interaction replaced by virtual meetings, hybrid working and less team-based interaction, what can be done to beat loneliness in the workplace?

  • Welcome new employees and induct thoroughly, making introductions throughout the business and facilitating opportunities for them to interact with the team.
  • Consider a mentoring scheme for those that might welcome the opportunity to buddy up and have someone they can go to for anything they need.
  • Ensure the team have regular social interaction, be that a virtual coffee meeting, an organised company event or a monthly inter-departmental quiz.
  • Be aware of your employees – are they engaged, do they attend meetings, do they seem happy in post.


Loneliness can be experienced by all, regardless of position, seniority, length of experience, life stage and in the busiest of office or home environments.

You can help to reduce the risk of loneliness in the workplace by making everyone feel welcome and included – think of others, be creative in the ways that you can include others, encourage participation in committees, working parties and internal events and pay attention to those that do not engage as much as others (or they used to).

Maintain regular 121s that provide dedicated time to discuss any issues (using virtual 121s for those working from home). Look out for each other. We are all human.

If you are the one feeling loneliness in the workplace, reach out to your fellow employees and use your own network. Volunteer for internal events and committees. Seek involvement on an internal and external level. Become a member of some of the fabulous PA/EA/Office Manager networks available to us all today.

You are not alone and nor should you feel that way.