Tackling loneliness at work
It was Mental Health Awareness week between 9th and 15th May, with the focus on loneliness. Not only can loneliness have a significant impact on our mental health and wellbeing, but according to gov.uk, it also costs UK employers £2.5 billion each year due to related impacts such as increased staff turnover and reduced productivity.
In today’s world, there are a number of factors that have led to increased levels of loneliness.
Firstly, although social media feels like it’s keeping us constantly connected to one another, the increased use of and dependence on these platforms can actually make us feel more disconnected than ever.
Add to that the effect of Covid and subsequent remote working, employees and employers feel more isolated and removed from one another. For entrepreneurs or those who work for themselves, this feeling of loneliness may not be anything new, but is still in no way easy.
Rather than shy away from work-related loneliness, it is important to address the issue and understand how to tackle it…
Keep talking! Regular communication is essential to ease the feeling of isolation. If you are working at home on your own, regular phone and video calls can help you feel more connected. And, if you’re able, meeting colleagues or clients in-person, even just for a coffee or a quick brainstorm, can significantly reduce the feeling of loneliness, as well as increase productivity.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is also extremely important. Whether you socialise with colleagues at online quizzes or work drinks, or you choose to meet up with family and friends, being proactive in reaching out and making plans can really help. Not only will this interaction allow you to feel less distant from those around you, it can also be a great reminder that there are people around you who can offer guidance if you are struggling with your mental health.
Networking is another brilliant way to find your crowd. This can be especially beneficial for those who are self-employed and aren’t able to turn to colleagues for support. Attending online or in-person webinars, workshops or industry fairs are the perfect opportunity to expand your circle, make worthwhile connections and build relationships with people in the same field, which can also benefit your career in the long-run.
Lastly, while not a direct remedy for loneliness, keeping active can also be a great way to boost your mental wellbeing. A walk in your lunch break for some fresh air, or a gym class after you log off, can be a brilliant change of scenery, an opportunity to switch off from the working day, and a chance to meet new people or spend time with your friends.
Loneliness and subsequent poor mental health can have a knock-on effect on all aspects of life, and make day-to-day tasks, like cooking a meal or doing a weekly food shop, feel extremely overwhelming. It’s important to support and help your employees or colleagues however you can, and, with an Asda gift card or e-gift card, you might be able to make those daunting tasks feel a little more manageable.