Four in 10 report having no close friends at work at all, according to a new survey of 5000 people by relationship charity Relate.
Most workers also have much more contact with their boss and colleagues than with their own friends or close family.
The study found a link between low self-esteem and poor work-life balance.
It also found that one in three workers polled believe their employer considers those prepared to prioritise work over family as more productive. Among Generation Y workers, this rises to two-fifths. It also rises for higher earners.
Outside of the workplace, one in 10 reported having no close friendships at all - equal to 4.7 million people if taken as a proportion of the adult population.
Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of Relate, said: “The results around how close we feel to others are very concerning.
“Relationships are the asset which can get us through good times and bad, and it is worrying to think that there are people who feel they have no one they can turn to during life’s challenges.”
Close contact and quality relationships are a fundamental component to a healthy work-life balance. Should employers be doing more to help employees facilitate better relationships, both at work and at home?
About Jamie Lawrence
Jamie Lawrence is editor of global online HR publication and community HRZone.com. He is committed to driving forward the HR agenda and making sure that HR directors have the knowledge and insight necessary to make HR felt across the whole organisation. He regularly speaks to audiences of 250+ and has interviewed key HR industry names, including Daniel H. Pink. He has worked previously as a small business journalist and a copywriter and has published non-fiction that reached #2 on the NYT Children's Bestseller List. In his spare time Jamie likes writing fiction, films, fitness and eating out.