Last week’s THES had an article relating to the dangers of isolation in academia.
I do not work in a University building, I work approximately 200 miles from my faculty in Chelmsford. I rarely experience isolation at work. Why? Because through technology I can communicate with a massive range of people, people both like and unlike me. Within the University and outside. In a faculty staff common room the integration is surley limited. Research within universities is so specialised you are, odds on, unlikely to be able to connect and chat through the deepest ideas with colleagues, who have depths in other specialisms. Through the building of communities (formal planned, and informal individual) it is possible to combat academic isolation. To connect minds despite location. This is not to replace face to face in all cases of course but to root out others with common background and engage may erode the isolation inherent to deep research.
On a more personal level as a young (ish) female academic I would find the common room in some faculty’s/departments isolating I’m sure; sometimes isolation is worse in a crowd! Through the use of technology I can find other like minded, sometimes demographically reassuring connections.