National Employee Benefits Day

National Employee Benefits Day

National Employee Benefits Day logo

Celebrate National Employee Benefits Day on April 2, 2024

Creating Community to Combat Loneliness

The World Health Organization recently declared loneliness to be a pressing global health threat, its mortality effects equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Workplaces have a unique opportunity to help combat the loneliness epidemic by fostering community, connection, and belonginess within their organizations.

Building a culture of community in the workplace can help employees make meaningful connections and overcome feelings of loneliness. This National Employee Benefits Day, we’re breaking down the definition of loneliness, its impact on workplaces, and steps employers and plan sponsors can take to combat loneliness within their own organizations, leveraging social capital to build a stronger workforce.

Join us on April 2, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. ET for a FREE Webcast!

The Loneliness Epidemic: How Did We Get Here and Where Do We Go From Here?

Today, we’re grappling with one of our biggest challenges as human beings: Our lack of connection to each other. As we start to examine the roots of our loneliness epidemic, we see compelling trends spanning many decades where we spent more and more time alone than together. This presentation will outline some of these trends and highlight the impact of loneliness on our health, particularly its role on workforces. The session will then move toward finding paths out of our epidemic, proposing a holistic approach and recommending strategies to promote meaningful social connectedness among people and organizations.

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What Is Loneliness?

Loneliness is different than just being alone. Just because someone is physically alone doesn't mean that they're lonely. Loneliness is defined as the gap between the social connection we want to have with others and the connection we feel we actually do have. As that gap gets larger, we describe that as greater and greater loneliness. According to Dr. Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, and Founder of Project Unlonely, there are three types of loneliness:



Social loneliness: Feeling like you don't have anyone around; feeling like you don't belong anywhere; feeling disconnected from others



Emotional loneliness: Feeling abandoned or excluded



Existential loneliness: Feeling separate from the rest of the world; feeling misunderstood

What’s the Impact on Workplaces?

Rising rates of loneliness among workers during the pandemic have put the well-being of employees top of mind for many organizations as they think about the future of work. Organizations are starting to focus on building structures and practices to support psychological safety and belonginess in the workplace, realizing loneliness causes health problems, reduced productivity, turnover, and burnout.

What Can Employers/Plan Sponsors Do?

The workplace is the single best place to create social capital. Workplace leaders seeking to improve employee and organizational wellness should include resources aimed at fostering connection between individuals and across teams, creating opportunities for socializing and cultivating company culture that values openness, belongingness and communication. Without a new approach to facilitating relationships at work, employee isolation and disconnection will continue to grow.

"Companies that create programs to tackle structural loneliness have the power to drive change at societal level not only by strengthening connections among employees, partners, and clients but also by serving as an innovation hub that can inspire other organizations to address loneliness."

Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General

About National Employee Benefits Day

National Employee Benefits Day is celebrated each year in April. The day recognizes trustees, administrators, benefits practitioners and professional advisors for their dedication to providing quality benefits and the important role they play in their colleagues' well-being.