Adelaide Now: What's making us so lonely? Here's why loneliness has been labelled a global health epidemic

Mothers' groups help new mums feel socially connected. Marion Mums and Bubs members Karen Davis with Ella, Alexandra Baker with Xanthe , Shirley Tan with Alexander and Rachel Whittenbury with Zoe. Picture: Brenton Edwards

Mothers' groups help new mums feel socially connected. Marion Mums and Bubs members Karen Davis with Ella, Alexandra Baker with Xanthe , Shirley Tan with Alexander and Rachel Whittenbury with Zoe. Picture: Brenton Edwards

Thanks to technology, we've never been as connected as we are today but increasingly, experts say, many of us have also never felt as lonely — and it is making us sick, literally.

Loneliness — the feeling of lacking genuine friends and someone real to confide in — is now said to be as bad, if not worse, for our health as being obese or smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

40% of Australians feel lonely at work

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New research has shown that a startling number of people across the country feel lonely in the workplace, causing flow-on effects for both productivity and wellbeing.

The Workplace Loneliness report, launched today by global HR thinktank Reventure, surveyed 1,010 employed Australians aged 18-65. It found that 40 per cent of Australian workers feel lonely at work, 38 per cent of lonely workers report making more mistakes and 40 percent of lonely workers feel less productive.

Human Resources Director: Do your employees feel lonely at work?

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Loneliness can be defined as being disconnected from others and seeing one’s relationships negatively.

Consequently, one can feel lonely in a crowd, and yet surrounded by others. According to Dr Lindsay McMillan OAM, Managing Director of Reventure, loneliness can be detrimental to health and wellbeing.



New study finds 40 per cent of Australian workers are lonely - and it's impacting their performance

Lonely at the top: A new study cites the impact of loneliness at work.

Lonely at the top: A new study cites the impact of loneliness at work.

FORTY per cent of Australian workers feel lonely at work and it is causing a slump in workplace productivity and wellbeing, a new study claims.

Launched on Monday, the Workplace Loneliness report by global HR think tank Reventure is based on a quantitative survey with 1010 employed Australians aged 18-65.

Feeling lonely at work? Report says its impacting on you

The report says nearly half of Australians feel lonely at work. Kat Jayne/Pexels

The report says nearly half of Australians feel lonely at work. Kat Jayne/Pexels

TRUCKIES spend their working days - and much of their off-duty time - in their trucks so this new study's results are not that surprising. 

The landmark report, Workplace Loneliness, which was released this morning, revealed that 40 percent of Australian workers feel lonely at work and it is causing a detriment to workplace productivity and personal well-being. 

Dr Lindsay McMillan: "Cotton On Group is best in class"

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Cotton On Group has been showcased as one of Australia’s Best in Class organisations.

The report, Best in Class, was launched by a 'future that works', and interviewed ten leading organisations on their outlook on the current and future state of Australian workplaces.

Organisations showcased in Best in Class were; PwC, Jetts Fitness, Cotton On Group, HESTA, Mercy Health, Xero, PepsiCo, AECOM and Arts Centre Melbourne, and Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Best in Class praises the design of work, the role of both leaders and HR practitioners, flexibility in the workplace, and the emphasis on organisational values.

Starlight Children’s Foundation named leader in HR

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Leading organisations have been named for its commitment to HR

Starlight Children’s Foundation has been named one of ten of Australian organisations that are leading the direction and future of HR in Australia.

In a national workplace renewal campaign led by a future that works, leading groups were named for having a dynamic and inspiring outlook on why HR leaders need to have seats at the executive table and be responsible for major decisions.

Managing Director of global HR think-tank, Reventure, and lead researcher for a future that works, Dr Lindsay McMillan OAM, said it was a rare privilege to interview senior leaders from Australia’s Best in Class organisations.

Human Resources Director: Why are 'insecure workers' always changing jobs?

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Those who describe themselves as insecure workers report greater levels of stress in all areas including finances, work, health and fitness, family and friendships, according to the lead researcher of Reventure, Dr Lindsay McMillan.

“Insecure workers are twice as likely to become physically sick due to workplace stress and five times more likely to be hospitalised for a week or more because of stress,” added Dr McMillan.

National Safety: Listen To Your Workers

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Work-related stress is known to have a significant impact on the mental health of workers, in some cases leading to psychological injury.

According to Safe Work Australia, workers with high job demands are particularly susceptible to poor mental health. This includes long work hours, emotional effort in responding to distressing situations or distressed or aggressive clients, and high workloads where there is too much to do.

Some industries face much higher levels of stress than others, because of the nature of the work or the conditions under which it must be performed. For instance, new research shows that the psychological stress levels of fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workforces are alarmingly high.

Published by the Medical Journal of Australia, the research reveals that more than one-quarter of FIFO workers at remote mining and construction sites rated their psychological stress as high or very high. This was compared with just 10.8% of the general population.

Dr Jennifer Bowers and colleagues from Rural and Remote Health SA, Edith Cowan University in Perth and Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence for Youth Mental Health, administered a wellbeing and lifestyle survey at 10 mining sites in Western and South Australia, with 1124 FIFO workers completing the questionnaire.

"High psychological distress was significantly more likely in workers aged 25-34 years and workers on a two weeks on/ one week off roster. Workers who were very or extremely stressed by their assigned tasks or job, their current relationship or their financial situation were significantly more likely to have high/very high Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) scores than those not stressed by these factors," the researchers wrote.

"Workers who reported stress related to stigmatisation of mental health problems were at the greatest risk of high/very high psychological distress."

The findings of this survey have the potential to inform health and safety policy and practice more broadly, particularly given the growing awareness of the levels of mental distress and suicide rates among workers in this industry.

TECHNOLOGY STRESS

The feeling of constantly having to be switched on is also a cause of stress for many workers, across a broad range of industries. Three quarters of workers report that they feel they can never completely shut off from work.

In addition, a workplace survey from global HR think-tank Reventure found that the number of workers who felt unable to switch off had actually increased by 27% since 2016.

Lead researcher Dr Lindsay McMillan said technology stress is becoming an increasingly common complaint that is not being addressed by employers. 

"73% of workers feel like they cannot turn work off, so they are checking emails and thinking about work because they are connected to their devices," McMillan said.

"If employers do not manage technology stress, employees will burn out and head to the exits, so it is very important for employee retention to tackle technology stress."

WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS?

Safe Work Australia has recently published a national guidance on how employers and workers can build a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. The guide aims to help users to identify, assess and control risks to mental health.

Dr Peta Miller, Special Adviser for Safe Work Australia, said that while work-related psychological injury is expensive, knowing what causes harm and taking preventative action is effective.

"Poor psychological safety costs Australian organisations $6 billion per annum in lost productivity. This is primarily because psychological injuries typically require three times more time off work than other injuries," she said.

"Additionally, workplaces with poor psychological working conditions accrue 43% more sick days per month."

Identifying the hazards to good mental health, assessing how severe the risks are and taking steps to eliminate and control the risks are essential steps to building a healthy and safe workplace.

"You can prevent your workers becoming ill or sustaining a psychological injury by responding to early warning signs and incidents — an increase in unplanned absence, uncharacteristic behaviour and workplace conflict are all clues that things aren't quite right," said Miller.

"Most importantly, workers will offer the most valuable insights — they know what causes them harm and will have ideas about how to most effectively address the dangers to their mental health. My advice is to listen to the people doing the work."

Adelaide Advertiser: Good Sleep Can Help Happiness

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The boss may think a worker’s satisfaction depends on the eight hours spent at work but new research finds eight hours away from it may have an equal part to play.

HR think tank Reventure finds workers who do not get enough sleep are likely to not be effective at work, and also dissatisfied within their job.

Its Workplace Wellbeing survey finds more than half of workers who report they do not get enough quality sleep (54 per cent) also are likely to look for a job in the next 12 months.

It compares to the average of 49 per cent of all workers who are looking for a job this year. Lead researcher Dr Lindsay McMillan says those not getting enough quality sleep also are more likely to say they feel as though their life has no sense of meaning.

“Sleep is a key part in fostering wellbeing – more than half of the Australian workers we surveyed believed that having time for rest and relaxation contributes to high levels of personal wellbeing,” he says. “Thirty-seven per cent of dissatisfied sleepers said they were either extremely or very stressed about work and that is something business leaders should not ignore.

“The effect work stress has on sleep can form a vicious cycle and while some large workplaces have implemented innovations such as sleep pods, there are some more basic measures leaders can take.

 “Make sure workloads are manageable and that expectations are reasonable, minimise emails after hours and take a look at overtime hours – these may be eating into your workers’ rest.”

The survey finds satisfied sleepers are happier in all areas of their lives.

Kochie's Business Builders: Want business success? Be grateful, believe in yourself and ask questions

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Wellness is playing an increasing role in the modern workplace. Global HR think tank Reventure’s recent ‘Workplace Wellness’ study revealed 73 per cent of Australians are stressed and unhappy at work. Meanwhile, the ranks of self-employed and small business owners continue to rise. If your workplace is getting you down, is it time you ditched your day job to follow your dreams?

The Australian: Remove toxic employees before they cost your business money

Managers can remind the whole team of its responsibility for building a good workplace culture.

Managers can remind the whole team of its responsibility for building a good workplace culture.

Bullying, racism and sexual harassment should have no place in the modern Australian workplace, yet bad behaviour is all too ­common.

In 2016 research by Lindsay McMillan, managing director of Reventure, 14 per cent of Australian workers described their workplace environment as “toxic”, and 20 per cent had experienced significant problems in communication with a co-worker or boss. A staggering 50 per cent had experienced serious conflict or negative conduct at work.

Startup Daily: Two thirds of founders 'very' or 'extremely' stressed, report finds

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With startup founders working an average of 64 hours a week and the majority drawing a smaller salary than in their previous role, 96 percent report feeling stressed; two thirds stated they were very or extremely stressed.

The findings have come from a report commissioned by KPMG Australia’s High Growth Ventures and supported by venture capital firms including Blackbird Ventures, AirTree Ventures, and Right Click Capital, which surveyed 70 founders of Australian venture-backed startups.

Third Sector: Workplace bullying reason to increasing turnover rates

A study has found more workers are leaving their jobs due to workplace bullying

Workplace bullying leads to higher and unexplained turnover rates, according to new research conducted by HR group, Reventure.

A second annual study of more than 1,000 Australian workers found that employees are responding to stress bought on by work-life balance, changes to technology and workplace distractions – as well as bullying from internal and external sources.

“The advice from employers is to provide support in industries that face abuse from the public, and for employees to speak up about workplace bullying wherever the source,” Lead researcher of Reventure, Dr Lindsay McMillan, said.

Human Resources Director: Workplace bullying surges in 12 months: report

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Workplace bullying leads to absenteeism, presenteeism and a higher turnover rate which sometimes goes unexplained because most workplace bullying goes unreported, according to Dr Lindsay McMillan, lead researcher of HR think-tank Reventure.

“The advice for employers is to provide support in industries that face abuse from the public, and for employees to speak up about workplace bullying wherever the source,” added Dr McMillan.

Adelaide Advertiser: Feel free to disconnect

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ABOUT three-quarters of workers feel they cannot switch off from work because they are too connected to their mobile devices, research shows.

HR think tank Reventure lead researcher Dr Lindsay McMillan says 73 per cent of workers are thinking about work and checking emails outside of working hours.

It is leading to many workers thinking technology is having a big effect on the workplace, with two-thirds of workers agreeing the workplace is becoming more complex and changing at a faster rate than ever. It compares to 54 per cent who believed so in 2016.

“It is up to employers to follow the lead of countries implementing the ‘right to disconnect’, which limits and regulates emails outside of working hours and make expectations around work clear,” he says.

My Business: Employers wary amid massive turnover forecasts

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Employers are expecting their turnover rates to soar by 57 per cent in 2018, according to a new survey, suggesting that as many as 1.8 million Australians will abandon their current job in search of greener pastures.

The astounding figures are based on a survey of 460 hiring managers from businesses Australia wide by recruitment firm Robert Half.

Tech stress takes its toll

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The number of Australian workers stressed because of technology has increased by 27 per cent since 2016, according to the latest workplace survey from global HR think-tank Reventure.
 
Seventy-three per cent of Australian workers said they felt constantly connected to work because of technology and couldn't ever completely shut off from it – compared to only 46 per cent in 2016.

Why wellness has become a top CFO priority

Why wellness has become a top CFO priority

Why wellness has become a top CFO priority

Australians like to think we’re the most laid-back country on earth but, as a nation, we’re increasingly stressed out.

Recent research from Reventure found 73 per cent of Australians feel anxious at work, with 85 per cent believing their employer is obliged to address it. Given the broader cost and performance implications, responsibility no longer sits exclusively in the HR department.

Human Resources Director: Is your workplace suffering from 'tech stress'?

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Bullying, deadlines and demanding managers are just some of the major triggers of stress in the workplace. But in 2018, another major source of stress is emerging.

Technology stress is becoming an increasingly common complaint that is not being addressed by employers, according to Dr Lindsay McMillan, lead researcher of HR think-tank Reventure.