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 Loneliness Awareness Week: Tackling loneliness in the workplace

Wellness

Posted on: Wednesday June 08, 2022

by Julie Stayte, Chief People Officer

Dark office, team meeting

Taking place between 13th – 17th June, Loneliness Awareness Week is an annual campaign dedicated to raising awareness for this common but often isolating feeling. Although feelings of loneliness may have many causes, there is a considerable amount that employers can actively do to mitigate and reduce those feelings whilst staff are at work.  

To start, dismantling the embarrassment around loneliness will ensure staff get the support they need. Employers can also review staff engagement and happiness levels to identify who in their workforce could benefit from more attention and inclusion.

Contributing factors to loneliness at work
 

1.     Hybrid working that’s not optimised

Hybrid working is the future but it’s success hinges on a few key components. [1] One of them is making sure your team has the right infrastructure to communicate and work in harmony. When organising meetings this can be as simple as having a reasonable balance between the in-person  and remote speakers. When most communication occurs in the onsite meeting room, remote members of the team are excluded. Face-to-face lunches and dinners, in addition to virtual coffee meetings, provide teams with a balanced setting to meet and interact.

2.     Poor communication channels

Open and informative communication is essential for running successful businesses. What’s also critical is finding communication channels that are flexible and accommodating for different working environments. Communication via mobile phones may be more efficient for staff on the move since not everyone has access to a desk. Built as a solution to this issue Hapi, is Personal Group’s employee benefits online and mobile app based platform which facilitates remote communication with staff. 

Practical solutions that are easy as...
 

A.     Creating a safe space for everyone

Employers today need to hire inclusively, representation matters. 

‘’An inclusive workplace culture allows all people to thrive at work, regardless of their background, identity, or circumstance.’’ – The CIPD’s 2019 Building inclusive workplaces report. [2] 

If staff feel alone in an organisation that can be alienating and can lead to loneliness. To achieve a truly inclusive workforce, practices and processes must be in place that remove barriers and value diversity. [3]

B.     Fostering a welcoming environment

Defining a company’s culture can be quite difficult. However, for the people of an organisation it boils down to how they are made to feel by others, top through to bottom. It’s also what seems to be rewarded. For example, when kindness and conscientiousness are valued, people's behaviour follows suit. Employers have the power to enact positive change and incentivize better working environments. 

C.     Cultivating a community

Introduce initiatives that bring people together. Start by surveying staff interests then use that data to kick off a scheme they’ll want. Company-organised sports teams, board game nights or pub quizzes are enjoyable ways to bring people together and help create a community. When people feel a sense of belonging this helps with motivation and staff engagement levels.

With Loneliness Awareness Week coming up next week, take the time to speak to staff and remind them you are there for support.

To review your employee benefits offering contact us and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for weekly thought leadership straight to your inbox.


[1] Hybrid Will Be The New Work Style, But 72% Of Businesses Lack A Strategy, AT&T’s ‘Future Of Work’ Study Shows (forbes.com)
[2] building-inclusive-workplaces-report-sept-2019_tcm18-64154.pdf (cipd.co.uk)
[3] Building inclusive workplaces | CIPD
Feeling lonely in a crowd - MHA Screening (mhanational.org)

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