The Virtual Workforce: Managing Loneliness

With the rise in virtual or hybrid work, research suggests that loneliness is on the rise. According to a recent study, 72% of workers said they experience loneliness monthly. In the context of an organization, workplace loneliness refers to feeling disengaged and disconnected from work and peers. This often leads to individuals seeking employment elsewhere, creating higher turnover for employers.

Rising rates of loneliness among employees during the pandemic have put the well-being of employees top of mind for most companies as they map out the future of work.

THE problem

Lonely workers are more than twice as likely as non-lonely workers to miss a day of work due to illness, twice as likely to miss work due to family obligations, and more than five times more likely to miss work due to stress. Annually, lonely workers miss an additional two weeks of work compared to non-lonely workers.

What is causing loneliness in the workplace?

The reason for workplace loneliness can be explained in the context of emotional and social loneliness. Emotional loneliness refers to individuals feeling the absence of someone to feel close to and connect with. Social loneliness occurs due to a lack of social relationships (i.e. friendships and/or romantic relationships) with whom they can share their interests. The combination of both of these conditions in the workplace gives rise to feelings of loneliness and emptiness.

Despite living in a world more “connected” than ever, we are seeing the highest rates of loneliness, anxiety, and depression, leading to employee burnout and high turnover. The increase in interactions through virtual platforms has created an environment where nobody really talks or listens anymore. Although employees can “connect” with just a click of the mouse, there is often no true connection happening at all.

We must face the fact that the current way of supporting employee mental health isn't working – the rise in technology use and isolation has made mental health support more complex.


The Virtual Workforce:
Managing Loneliness

Research has shown that loneliness can have dramatic negative effects on teams and organizations due to increased absenteeism, turnover, and healthcare costs. Cigna estimated that loneliness costs US employers over $400 billion a year – and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The good news? You can ensure your employees don’t become a part of these staggering statistics.

In our recent webinar The Virtual Workforce: Managing Loneliness, Dr. Kevin Skinner and Eric Red discussed the ways that managers can effectively combat these issues and create workplaces of meaningful connection, inclusion, and positive mental health – leading to improved employee productivity, happiness, and retention.

At Noble, we’re focused on equipping employers with the means to cultivate human connection and ultimately ensure a healthier, happier employee experience. We build outcome-focused, data-driven programs that connect employees with specialized help and human-to-human support.

Noble's four-part model combines the best technology with the best mental health professionals to impact outcomes in a lasting, meaningful way.


A user experience that builds trust, confidence, and motivation to begin healing.


Clinical assessments that offer a complete, systematic approach to identifying needs.


Bringing together humans and technology for increased connection and improved outcomes.


Safe, skilled, and empathetic mental health professionals offering help to anyone at any time.

We’d love to learn more about the issues you’re facing and see if we might be able to help.

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