Layoffs and the Importance of Human Connection

Woman sits in front of laptop frustrated

Massive layoffs, especially in the tech sector, has been flooding our news feeds recently. According to, in 2023 alone, tech companies have shed nearly 60,000 jobs. That’s in addition to the nearly 160,000 jobs that were lost in 2022.

There’s no doubt that job layoffs cause anxiety. In fact, job loss can have a negative physiological as well as physical impact. According to the American Psychological Association, “Having any kind of personal contact with layoffs is found to be associated with less job security, more symptoms of poor health, depression, and eating changes as compared with having no layoff contact.”


In other words, losing a job negatively impacts both mind and body.

An important aspect of work is our social connections with other people. According to Connie Wanberg, a PhD psychologist from the University of Minnesota, “Work provides us time structure, it provides us identity, it provides us purpose and it also provides us social interactions with others.” When those things are lost, the impact is far reaching, causing a great deal of personal stress and anxiety. 

This is especially true in our post-pandemic world. The term “lonely layoffs” has been bandied about recently. Because much of our work life is now completely remote, people are getting the bad news of a job loss over Zoom, email, or even Slack. According to Sandra Sucher, professor of management at Harvard, when a layoff happens remotely,  “They’re immediately cutting you off from your technological connection.”

So, what can be done? The Harvard Business Review suggests, among other things, investing in self-complexity. If we reduce ourselves down to one attribute, our job, and we lose that, then we end up feeling dehumanized. Depression, disengagement, and burnout will surely follow. 

Focusing on developing one’s own complexity and diversifying one’s own self can have a deeply positive effect. “You can diversify your identity and create self-complexity by investing in different areas of your life. That way when things at work aren’t going well, you don’t lose your entire sense of self. You might choose to devote time to hobbies, your spirituality, or your health.”

One way to do this is to remain active. According to the New York Times, “Though many relevant activities, like going to networking events or meeting contacts for coffee, remain off the table, you can still find ways to be productive, like offering your expertise to others…”

And that means helping people. 

Above all else, rely on friends. According to CNBC, “Real friendship is the key to our long-term career success, health and happiness. Our basic human need for friendship gives us the sense of belonging, purpose, confidence and satisfaction that we crave.”

Boonoob is an app that helps people build communities around activities. Right now, maybe more than ever, social connection and support is critical to one’s own mental and physical well being. Difficult times pass, but friendship and good memories remain forever. On Boonoob, you can get together with friends, share experiences, and exchange ideas in the real world. 

About Boonoob

Boonoob is an app that helps people build communities around real-world activities. Download it at the App Store and Google Play.