'Employers should consider innovative ways to lessen feelings of isolation and create a culture free from bias'
Employees are feeling more detached from their organizations amid the pandemic.
While nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) feel a sense of belonging and acceptance at work, that’s down from 73 per cent prior to the pandemic, according to LifeWorks.
Another 35 per cent are unsure or do not feel a sense of belonging, up from 26 per cent pre-pandemic.
“While remote or hybrid work offers flexibility and saves commuting time, there is a risk that people may feel less connection to their organizations and colleagues over time. When transitioning to a virtual setting during the pandemic, many employees lost the spontaneity of conversations that they may have found invigorating,” says Stephen Liptrap, president and CEO of LifeWorks.
Those who feel a sense of belonging and acceptance at work have the highest mental health score (-3.1) compared with those who are unsure (-20) and those who does not feel a sense of belonging and acceptance (-25).
Those who feel they belong also have a far better isolation score (-3.4) compared with those who are unsure (-23.7) or who do not feel it (-29), found LifeWorks’ survey of 3,000 respondents in Canada conducted from July 30 to Aug. 5, 2021.
Six in 10 (60 per cent) Canadians say they often feel lonely during the week, according to another report.
And about 36 per cent of workers in Canada report feeling isolated compared to the global average of 27 per cent, found a previous Microsoft survey.
Return to office
The return to the office gives employers a chance to help out employees as 68 per cent of workers who are working at the jobsite feel a sense of belonging and acceptance at work – compared to 61 per cent for those working from home full- or part-time, down from 73 per cent pre-pandemic.
People who are working exclusively from home also have worse isolation scores (-9.6) than those working from the jobsite (-7.3) and those splitting time between home and the jobsite (-7.6).
“To ensure a successful return to the workplace, employers should consider innovative ways to lessen feelings of isolation and create a culture free from bias, regardless of work location. Connections and the social support they offer are important to wellbeing and we need to ensure that this is not lost,” says Liptrap.
Nearly all of those who have returned to the office (95 per cent) have experienced the advantages of being present on-site, according to a previous report.