In a September 2017 article in the Harvard Business Review, former U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy shared that the most common pathology he saw in patients was loneliness. Adults who report being lonely is now 40%, a rate that has doubled since the 1980s; and research indicates the percentage is actually higher. And many adults say they do not have any close confidant.
Loneliness directly affects personal health in significant ways. It can reduce a person’s lifespan as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. And it’s tied to greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and anxiety.
What about loneliness in the workplace?
High rates of employees, and 50% of CEOs, admit they feel lonely at work – even people who work in open-plan offices. Loneliness directly impacts the success of a business. Lonely employees take longer to complete tasks, and loneliness inhibits creativity and impairs reasoning and decision making. A 2016 Gallup report found that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. But companies with highly engaged workforces outperformed their peers by 147% in earnings per share.
Murthy states that “for our health and for our work, it is imperative that we address the loneliness epidemic quickly.”
High-growth companies define a purpose, then a strategy to engage employees, Gallup research shows. This approach includes leadership involvement and commitment, a communication strategy, systems that hold managers and leaders accountable, and learning and development programs.
Corporate events are a proven solution.
One proven way to build positive co-worker relationships is through well-designed corporate events. When designing an event, event managers must incorporate tactics that facilitate meaningful interactions among attendees. By studying the types of attendees, a strategic event planner will use activities that engage employees who have common interests.
What activities facilitate event participation to reduce loneliness?
- Common icebreakers for all attendees.
- Asking employees about their interests to use in small group sessions.
- Facilitator-guided conversations.
- Mobile event apps that include social functionality.
- New tech devices like interactive badges that make connecting easier.
Reducing loneliness and the stress it causes will improve the physical and mental health of your employees. And, by engaging employees, it will improve the health of your business. Among publicly traded companies, the Gallup poll determined that companies with a highly engaged employee base outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. We wouldn’t say no to those numbers.
MOC&CO designs engaging, interactive events for our corporate clients. We know the activities that connect employees in meaningful ways to expand and strengthen their networks. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your employee event, and we’ll create an experience that combats workplace loneliness.