Mental Health Awareness Week 2022: It’s time to address loneliness in the workplace

Mental Health Awareness Week 2022: It’s time to address loneliness in the workplace

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is loneliness. This is a subject that we’ve been thinking about a lot at ABSTRACT this year. Particularly the ways isolation, emotional withdrawal and disengagement from colleagues has become a growing problem in UK workplaces. One that many people are now calling an epidemic.

How serious is the issue? O.C. Tanner’s 2022 global culture report, which analysed data provided by 38,000 HR leaders and execs across the UK and beyond, points to a serious crisis. They found that 62% of UK workers admitted they engaged less with family and friends than they did a year ago, with a quarter admitting they felt disconnected from colleagues.

A further study found that 41% of people aged 18-36 had experienced loneliness when working remotely. And nearly three quarters believed it was the responsibility of their employer to do more to tackle loneliness in the hybrid workplace.

It’s a sobering snapshot of where we are, and something that’s only going to bite harder as we adapt hybrid and remote models of working.

Aside from the incalculable personal cost to those affected, the actual cost to businesses is huge. Government figures point to an estimated £2.5billion lost to staff turnover, absenteeism and productivity every year – that’s an average of nearly £10,000 per employee.

How can employers address the loneliness epidemic in our workplaces?

This growing crisis has been a passionate topic here at ABSTRACT. After all, hybrid and remote working has proven to be an effective model for many organisations, and brought tangible benefits to the work/life balance of many employees. To revert back to an in-house working pattern might seem like an easy fix for reducing loneliness, yet it doesn’t get to the crux of the issue.

Take another look at that O.C. Tanner Study, for instance. Despite being free from restrictions for most of the last year, the majority of those polled admitted becoming more, not less, isolated from friends and family. This suggests the mental health burden from the pandemic, and the seismic changes it brought, will continue to be with us for a long time to come.

So as leaders, HR professionals and consultants, what are we going to do about it?

ABSTRACT is there to support your people

When we put together our Health and Wellbeing programme, we wanted to address the seven key components of personal wellbeing: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Environmental, Social, Financial and Spiritual.

The aim of this course is simple: Over eight virtual modules, we’ll equip your people with the tools and support they need to develop effective ways to improve their personal wellbeing.

We’ve designed this course for right now, with the latest data and analysis to hand. So, let’s work together to reduce the suffering of those who feel lonely in your workplace. And ensure your business can protect itself from the burnout, long-term absenteeism and swathes of resignations that will be the by-product of this growing issue.

Ready to invest in employee wellbeing? Speak to us today

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