Mental health is currently high on the Government’s agenda, and never more so than this week - Mental Health Awareness Week. This Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme is ‘Loneliness’.
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has commenced a campaign to end loneliness by establishing the ‘Loneliness Employers Leadership Group’. The group was set up to deepen our understanding of workplace loneliness and to address the effects of it at work.
The Government report highlights the measures employers and businesses can take to support the social wellbeing of their employees and recognise loneliness in the workplace. We would recommend reading the report in full but a number of steps employers can take to tackle loneliness at work include:
Making it a strategic objective. Building high quality, positive relationships from the top down can leave employees feeling more connected in the workplace. This can include group based discussions and training and having regular conversations about loneliness at work to reduce the stigma surrounding it.
Identifying a dedicated employee trained in wellbeing in the workplace. Find someone who can be a source of confidential support to their peers, such as a mental health first aider or wellbeing officer.
Building staff networks. Coming together in a like-minded group to support people at different stages of their lives can reduce the chances of people feeling disconnected or excluded
Improving shared spaces. With the move to an increased amount of employees working remotely, the need for traditional working spaces is lessened. Consider building communal spaces for employees to work together in a team or socialise.
Remembering those at home. Working remotely can be particularly isolating and staying in touch is more important than ever to boost mental wellbeing. Try scheduling a digital coffee break once a week to catch up and check in with colleagues.
Resources to support working from home have been developed by the NHS and can be found here.
“By tackling loneliness and supporting employees to build social connections, employers can ensure a more productive and resilient workforce”