Americans are suffering from a bad case of loneliness. The number of people in the United States living alone has gone through the studio-apartment roof. A study released by the insurance company Cigna last spring made headlines with its announcement: “Only around half of Americans say they have meaningful, daily face-to-face social interactions.”
Participating in volunteer opportunities may help alleviate loneliness and its related health impact for several reasons. The first and most obvious is that it’s a meaningful way to connect with others and make new friends.
Perhaps the quality of alone time has decreased with the rise of the internet and technology. Maybe we have forgotten how to make the most of that time. Whatever the case, it is clear that time alone can result in existential angst. Freelancing brings this into sharp relief.
The workplace can be a curious environment. Dozens or even hundreds of employees can labor side by side for hours, spending more time with each other than with anyone else, yet they don’t feel connected. New research shows that loneliness isn’t just damaging to mental health; it can also lower job performance.