Winter blues: A third of Millennials set to call in sick this winter due to workplace loneliness

  • Research comes as workplaces steadily empty ahead of the Christmas break
  • 47% of millennials claim pressure is leading cause of their loneliness
  • Over a quarter of millennials have quit jobs because of loneliness
  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of workers don’t believe their company does enough to combat loneliness in the workplace
  • Baby boomers are much less likely to confide in others about their loneliness (42% of baby boomers compared with 30% of millennials) 

Discover more about workplace loneliness here:

DECEMBER 2018 – LONDON, UK – Millions of UK employees are battling a sense of workplace loneliness with the majority claiming their employer is failing to do enough to support them, according to figures released today as many offices empty for the Christmas getaway.

The research released by leading online jobs board totaljobs, spoke to 5,795 UK workers and reveals a shocking three quarters (76%) have experienced loneliness, including 60% suffering loneliness specifically related to their workplace, with pressure cited as the leading contributing factor. To compound this sense of isolation, almost two-thirds (63%) don’t believe their employer is doing enough to combat workplace loneliness.

Millennials vs. baby boomers  

The research findings suggest that millennials (those employees aged 22-37)  are the group most impacted by the issue, with almost three quarters (70%) stating loneliness has affected their stress levels, considerably more than the number of baby boomers (identified as those aged 54-72) who claim to struggle with the issue (59%).

Worryingly, loneliness is also impacting millennials’ self-esteem (68%); sleep habits (56%) and relationships (48%).

Almost half (47%) of millennials say pressure is the cause of their loneliness, closely followed by feeling like they don’t fit in (46%). A similar trend is seen with baby boomers who also cite pressure (39%) and not fitting in (32%) as the leading causes, but it is clear that millennials are more susceptible to these feelings of isolation.

With 36% of millennials calling in sick as a direct result of loneliness, workplace loneliness should be a cause for concern as we head into the winter months.


It is evident that loneliness still carries a stigma and more needs to be done to encourage workers to have open conversations about loneliness in their places of work.

The research revealed over half of those who feel lonely at work (63%) believe their company doesn’t do enough to combat loneliness, even with 38% admitting their struggles with loneliness are affecting productivity (44% of millennials compared to 27% of baby boomers).

For over a quarter of millennials (29%), loneliness has even gone as far as causing them to quit their jobs (compared to 19% of baby boomers).

Suffering in silence

Furthermore, a quarter stated they had never confided in anyone at work about their loneliness, as they believed it would negatively impact their career (13%) or they would be discriminated against (9%).

The findings show some workers do confide in friends (35%), family (34%) and in partners (34%) about their loneliness.

However, worryingly, boomers are much less likely to confide in others about their loneliness (42% of boomers compared with 30% of millennials), due to feeling like they can’t trust their colleagues (10%) and worrying it could negatively impact their career (9%).

Of those who do confide in someone, only 15% of boomers said it made them feel less lonely (compared to 25% of millennials) with a larger number of people (17%) actually saying it did no good whatsoever.

Martin Talbot, Group Marketing Director at totaljobs comments, “Today’s findings showcase the shocking reality of isolation for many workers across the country, with an overwhelming majority suffering in silence.

Our research has revealed pressure and ‘not fitting in’ are the leading causes of loneliness, which is having a detrimental impact on workers’ productivity and mental health.

We would strongly encourage men and women, millennials and baby boomers, to confide in someone about their loneliness, whether inside or outside of work. Talking to someone can help you feel less lonely.

Equally, we would urge employers to be proactive in putting measures in place so those suffering with loneliness in the workplace, have a network of people and tools to support them.”

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind adds, “Staying silent is one of the worst things people in difficulty can do. Opening up to a colleague about how they’re feeling can help them feel more relaxed about chatting to a manager. Even if they don’t want to speak about it then, you’ve let them know you care and will be there for them when the time is right.”

– ENDS –

About Totaljobs:

Formed in 1999, Totaljobs is one of UK’s leading job boards, attracting 14 million visits and nearly 4 million applications from qualified jobseekers every month. 120,000 new candidates register with us each month who have an average of 190,000 jobs to choose from, posted by thousands of employers.

In May 2018, totaljobs partnered with Jobsite to become the UK’s largest hiring platform offering employers the opportunity to advertise vacancies across both platforms from one system, and access to almost half of the UK working population.

Totaljobs and Jobsite are part of the StepStone Group, one of the world’s leading e-recruitment businesses. With a head office in London and offices in Birmingham, Havant, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Glasgow, StepStone in the UK comprises Totaljobs and Jobsite plus nine additional job boards. These include:, CatererGlobal, CWJobs, Milkround, CityJobs, RetailChoice, CareerStructure, JustEngineers and emedcareers. Together these brands provide access to 17.6 million searchable candidate profiles.

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