Is loneliness the next employee wellness frontier?
…Loneliness isn’t yet a fully formed area in employee health and wellbeing, but employers are starting to ask what they can do — or stop doing — to help, says Paula Allen, vice-president of research and integrative solutions at Morneau Shepell Ltd. “It’s a major health issue and people are saying it’s actually a bigger health issue than some of our more traditional ones, like cardiovascular risk, at this point in time. Because of that, it’s just starting to get attention in the workplace,” she says. From Pinker’s perspective, however, employers aren’t aware of the issue, though she acknowledges it’s gaining attention in some industries. In many cases, she says, employers are actually exacerbating the problem. “In other words, they’re cutting costs, so they’re allowing workers to work from remote offices. It can be suitable for a few introverts, but for most people it’s quite destructive not to have a place to meet with colleagues. It’s destructive to their mental health and it’s destructive to their productivity.”
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