19 May 2022

Keeping connected

Feelings of loneliness and isolation are just as prevalent among workers in large open-plan offices as for those who work entirely apart from others, research has revealed. A study discovered just 2% of employees in larger offices directly communicate with each other on a regular basis. Feelings of loneliness were less likely among workers in single, shared cell or small open plan offices. 

And researchers Ann Aidla, Helen Poltimae, Kart Roigas and Eneli Kindsiko, from Estonia’s University of Tartu, also say people working from home and in large offices had more people to share thoughts with and rely on. Ann, who presented the findings at our conference in April, said: “Maybe people at home need to work on relationships. They need to find people they can trust, who they can talk to and who can support them. Maybe those in shared cell offices and working together all the time take their relationships for granted.”

The Estonia-wide study looked at staff who spent no time apart when at work to those who spent more than 75% of their time apart. The authors say it shows the need to think about what type of workspace suits different professions, such as telemarketing, and that it’s not possible to take a ‘one size fits all’ approach.