This year, the key focus of Mental Health Awareness Week is tackling loneliness – a fitting theme after the two years we’ve all spent in turmoil, often apart from one another. Today, we’re sharing tips on how to overcome loneliness both in and out of the workplace.
Once upon a time, the idea of feeling lonely while at work may not have seemed like a major concern. Offices, for example, are often considered sociable, busy places.
Fast-forward to 2022, and the situation is a little different. During the pandemic, employees everywhere made the switch to working from home – to the delight of some and the anguish of others. While working from home has a lot of advantages, and has been embraced by many, the concern of loneliness among the workforce is more acute than ever.
Loneliness can be experienced by people of all ages, from all walks of life. This makes it a serious concern, both in and out of work. Loneliness is a major social issue, but it should also be considered an important problem to combat for businesses.
According to Gov.UK, the cost of loneliness to UK employers has been estimated to be £2.5 billion every year. This figure incorporates multiple factors:
- Increased staff turnover (64%, £1.62 billion)
- Lower wellbeing and productivity (26%, £665 million)
- The impact of caring responsibilities (9%, £220 million)
- Ill health and associated sickness absence (1%, £20 million).
Needless to say, the realities of loneliness can no longer be ignored, from both a social and a business perspective. So, how can we change things? Here are some of our top tips.
Creating an inclusive workplace culture is one important way of tackling loneliness. Whether your workforce is remote, onsite, or hybrid. Employees can often feel isolated, with no clear point of contact to reach out to if they’re struggling with mental health issues.
By establishing regular social activities, or organising coffee break catch-ups with team members, employees are sure to feel more connected to one another.
Investing in your community
As a company, you have the power to tackle loneliness both within your business and throughout your local community. By organising Employer-supported volunteering (ESV), you can give your employees an opportunity to make an impact in their community.
As well as combatting loneliness (by volunteering at a local retirement home, for example), ESV has been proven to improve communication and collaboration between team members. This makes it a great way of addressing the issue of loneliness both inside and outside your organisation.
Access to mental health services
Another way to tackle loneliness in the workplace is ensuring that your employees have access to mental health services. This could either mean employing a mental health counsellor or outsourcing this service. Either way, giving your team access to tools, talking therapy, and guidance is a great way to make sure their mental health needs are met.
At The Mór Card, we have curated corporate-exclusive collections, which include access to mental health resources. These resources are provided by Premier Care Training, Andy's Man Club, Inspire You, and more.
Find out more about becoming a Mór member and get your team’s health and wellbeing on track.