Nearly 1 in 4 Gen Z Employees are Lonely at Work

Loneliness in the workplace is affecting the Gen Z population at a higher rate than other demographics. And according to the Wildgoose survey, it comes out to almost one in four or 23% of its respondents. The rate for Gen Z employees is up 130% from the same survey in 2017. Furthermore, 44% of them don’t have friends in the workplace.

The data comes from 1,052 participating companies in the 2021 Workplace Friendship & Happiness Survey by Wildgoose.

Gen Zers Lonely at Work

The isolation Gen Z workers feel is further compounded because of the changing working environment along with the pandemic. It is not surprising remote work makes it harder to form friendships. At the same time, the challenges brought on by COVID-19 are also playing a huge role.

The survey also reports Gen Z workers find it hard to get to know new colleagues while working remotely. Almost one in ten (7%) of this group also say they started a new role over the last year, and they still have not made any friends at work. For other demographics in the survey, it was just one in twenty. And as more businesses move to a hybrid working model, Wildgoose suggests decision-makers and HR teams build closer colleague connections.

As Wildgoose managing director Jonny Edser, explains in the press release, “Some people have started jobs without meeting their new colleagues, which must be especially tough. And companies need to realize that face-to-face social events play a huge role in that, particularly when people have lacked social interaction in their everyday lives.”

Key Takeaways from the Survey

More than half or 57% say having a work best friend makes work more enjoyable, while 21% say they feel more creative. However, the number of respondents who say they have a best friend is 40%, with 15% saying they would ideally like one.


When it comes to improving work relationships with colleagues, after-work drinks once a month is on top for 46% of the respondents. A team-building weekend away (21%), playing sports together once a month (14%) and virtual team-building activity (6%) are also options.

Having Fun with Colleagues

Edser also says having fun is very important, “For many people, what’s been missing is the chance to have fun with colleagues, rather than just focusing on work.”

By getting together and doing activities that are not work-related helps everyone reconnect. Wildgoose specializes in creating team building and social team events with engaging and interactive challenges. This includes virtual team-building products during the lockdown brought on by the pandemic.

Happiness in the Workplace

The idea is employees that who are happy are more productive. However, there is not a convergent conclusion on the subject measuring employee happiness even though there have been numerous studies.

The key as this survey from Wildgoose points out is to keep your workforce engaged. Whether they are working together in the office or dispersed around the world, there are now ways to build new relationships as well as reaffirm existing friendships using readily available technology.

From digital introductions to remote events, businesses of all sizes must encourage their employees to forge relationships. This will pay off when they come together to work on projects or face challenges.

Image: Depositphotos

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 9 years. He currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.