Social Isolation

The Lempert Report
April 25, 2023

Loneliness has been on the rise in the US for decades. One estimate is that more than two outta three working adults consider themselves lonely. The US Surgeon General is calling this an epidemic. And it's comes at a significant economic cost, lost productivity at work, increased spending on physical and mental healthcare. Medicare alone spends an extra 6.7 billion a year caring for socially isolated older adults. And why are we just so lonely? I'm not lonely. Are you lonely?

Sally: I don't think so, Phil, but you know, I get to talk with you and Tony every day. So, I mean, yes. You know, a lot of people are working remotely particularly since the pandemic. And for those people that have not gone back to work or have not entered into hybrid work situations, then you know, it's understandable that there is a great deal more of isolation. You know, it's costing employers approximately 154 billion annually. They're workers are, they're quitting or they're not productive. it has organizational effectiveness you know, cost. And so it really is weighing heavily on the on our productivity in the work environment. Some of the things that we've heard that businesses can do to help their employees with this is to make sure that you're having moments during the week where there is required interaction, either in the office or gathering online. You can do that. But also finding ways for workers to take time to share something that's actually from who they are, their personal life, rather than it just being all business. 

Phil: And the other thing that what they talk about is the fact that when you're on Zoom, like we are now, you miss the other cues for body language. Cigna, the healthcare company did some research that found that workers who had the job resources of social companionship, good work life balance and satisfaction with communications were 53% less likely to be lonely than other people.