However, aggravation from commuting is no match for the misery of loneliness, which can lead to depression, substance abuse, sedentary behavior, and relationship damage, among other ills. And it is simply undeniable that remote work usually leads to loneliness. In research conducted more than a decade before the pandemic about remote work among journalists, the organizational psychologist Lynn Holdsworth found that full-time telework increased loneliness over office work by 67 percentage points. Based on data from 2019, the 2020 State of Remote Work report issued by the social-media management firm Buffer showed that loneliness is the biggest struggle remote workers say they face, tied with problems of collaboration and communication.
Work is where many people have the bulk of their social interactions. In a recent survey, 70 percent of employees said friendship at their job is the most important element of a happy work life. Research shows that employees say a co-located office environment is where they establish not just work collaborations but also their social ties.