Seven tips to combat loneliness – Howden launches new guide for employers
11 May 2022
Howden recommends seven ways to support employees experiencing loneliness
During Mental Health Awareness Week, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing (Howden) is launching a new guide, ‘Loneliness: How to support people in the workplace’ to help employers support workers who may be struggling with loneliness.
Howden recommends seven ways to support employees experiencing loneliness:
Communicate and raise awareness
Create space for employees to talk about their wellbeing by checking in regularly, even if it’s on a video call. Raising awareness will help to build a company culture where people feel comfortable disclosing challenges and informed about the support available to them.
Facilitate workplace socialising
People with social connections at work tend to be more engaged and loyal because these relationships help to build a company culture based on trust and respect. This creates social cohesion at work, facilitating more teamwork, creativity and collaboration.
Create opportunities for employees to connect
Organise quizzes, group calls or even exercise classes for remote employees; assign work buddies or mentors who can listen to work and non-work-related issues and provide team lunches or away days where employees can socialise outside of the workplace setting.
If managers are to take greater responsibility for safeguarding mental health in the workplace, it’s vital that they are prepared with proper training. Adopting a mental health first aid scheme means having trained employees who know the signs of loneliness as well as how to respond appropriately.
Encourage employees to use their employee benefits
Benefits such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), virtual GPs and mental health nurses can all prove a useful source of help. EAPs provide around-the-clock confidential support for a wide range of problems employees might be facing. As well as helping employers to meet their duty of care to employees, EAPs are popular because they are affordable and easy to put in place.
Support employees with care responsibilities
People caring for elderly or disabled relatives can face stress or depression due to the pressure. Research by Carers UK, pre-pandemic, found every day 600 people in the UK were giving up work to care for a loved one. Offering flexible working arrangements can help people balance these responsibilities.
Signpost to charities
Make employees aware of available support. Charities supporting lonely people include: Mind and The Samaritans, which have helplines providing non-judgemental support and advice; The Silver Line and Age UK, which support older people and organisations such as Meet Up Mondays which tackle loneliness by facilitating meetups.
Mark Fosh - Director of SME
Mark has 20 years’ experience of helping clients attract and retain the right talent. He and his team develop benefits programmes to suit their clients’ needs, helping clients to bring their employment strategies to life.