The tissue microenvironment in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) plays a key role in the pathogenesis of CLL, but the complex blood microenvironment in CLL has not yet been fully characterised. Therefore, immunophenotyping of circulating immune cells in 244 CLL patients and 52 healthy controls was performed using flow cytometry and analysed by multivariate Patient Similarity Networks (PSNs). Our study revealed high inter-individual heterogeneity in the distribution and activation of bystander immune cells in CLL, depending on the bulk of the CLL cells. High CLL counts were associated with low activation on circulating monocytes and T cells and vice versa. The highest activation of immune cells, particularly of intermediate and non-classical monocytes, was evident in patients treated with novel agents. PSNs revealed a low activation of immune cells in CLL progression, irrespective of IgHV status, Binet stage and TP53 disruption. Patients with high intermediate monocytes (> 5.4%) with low activation were 2.5 times more likely (95% confidence interval 1.421-4.403, P = 0.002) to had shorter time-to-treatment than those with low monocyte counts. Our study demonstrated the association between the activation of circulating immune cells and the bulk of CLL cells. The highest activation of bystander immune cells was detected in patients with slow disease course and in those treated with novel agents. The subset of intermediate monocytes showed predictive value for time-to-treatment in CLL.