WORKPLACE / AUG. 14, 2014
version 4, draft 4

No Friends in The Workplace: Study Reveals UK's Lonely Employees


The demands that modern day working life has placed upon employees has gained much more awareness in recent years. Employees are putting in more hours at the office which has a direct impact on their work life-balance. The recently published report titled “The Way We Are Now: The State of the UK’s Relationships 2014” by the charity Relate and Relationships Scotland surveyed over 5,000 individuals courtesy of YouGov has revealed that 42% of surveyors have stated that they do not have any friends in the workplace. The survey looks at relationships and friendships as well as the work lives of the surveyors.

The survey which has been widely reported also reveals some key insights into how UK employees feel about their work-life balance:

  • 35% of employees reported that they think their bosses feel that employees who prioritise their job over their families perform much better in the workplace.
  • 59% of employees reported that they have a good working relationship with their boss.
  • Employees who earned substantial salaries reported that they were under additional pressure to prioritize their job over their families.
  • 64% of employees who had children reported that they had frequent contact with them which mirrored the same amount of contact they had with their co-workers.
  • At least 60% of employees stated that they had a positive relationship with their employer.

The chief executive of Relate Ruth Sutherland made the following statement:

“There is a significant minority of people who claim to have no close friends, or who never or rarely feel loved - something which is unimaginable for many of us.

Relationships are the asset which can get us through good times and bad, and it is worrying to think that there are people who feel they have no one they can turn to during life’s challenges.”

The impact of having poor personal connections at work can sometimes be so detrimental that for some employees merely striking a balance between their work life and domestic life is a true struggle. Whether you’re experiencing a heavy workload or feel as if you are under increasing amounts of other work-related pressure the strain of not having a support network in the workplace can cause additional stress. It’s not just the demands of employees’ work life that has revealed evidence of an isolated workforce in the UK. Here are some additional findings of this report that highlight how the report’s respondents feel about their personal relationships:

  • Nine out of ten respondents stated that they have a close friendship with another individual with 73% of males referring to this friendship as positive and 81% of females stating the same.
  • 81% of respondents who lived with their partner or were married stated that they had a healthy self-perception in comparison to 69% of single respondents.

The results of this survey suggest that employees are facing a dilemma in the workplace when it comes to establishing a healthy work-life balance which indicates that more needs to be done in regards to reinforcing healthy social dynamics in the workplace, and adjusting attitudes towards what dictates “committed employees.”

Feeling isolated in the workplace is an issue that is on the rise for some employees in the UK, an issue that employers need to tackle head on by doing more to ensure that their employees’ wellbeing is not being compromised by the external demands of their jobs resulting in feelings of being alienated in and outside of the workplace.

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