There are many advantages to having a healthy workplace. Employees who feel healthy, both physically and mentally, generate positive energy which is not only beneficial for their personal productivity but also motivating to their co-workers.
By promoting workplace wellbeing, employers can prevent illness, stress fatigue and even workplace accidents. Implementing wellness programmes improves organisational culture and fosters a more positive attitude among employees.
Participating in Mental Health Awareness Week is a terrific way to show you care about your employees’ well-being. This year’s theme is loneliness, an issue that is growing more apparent as the number of people working from home increases.
Your workplace could organise a social event to bring staff together (either in-person or virtually) or encourage team members to ‘buddy-up’ so they always have someone to talk to if they’re struggling. If your organisation has a Mental Health First Aider, this week is a good time to remind everyone about what they do.
We’ve put together just a few ideas of how you can help combat loneliness in your workplace. Talk to your co-workers to see if any of these suggestions would make them feel more included.
1. Time to Talk
It can be difficult to spot feelings of loneliness among your employees, especially if they’re working remotely. Therefore it’s a good idea to check in with them frequently to see how they’re doing. People can be reluctant to come forward when they’re struggling with a mental health issue but if you can give them a ‘safe space’ to talk in they may find it easier to open up.
Assure employees that if they bring up a mental health concern, they will not be judged. You should also publicise the support available to employees who are struggling so they feel more comfortable talking about it.
2. Regular Team Get-Togethers
It may not always be possible for remote workers to travel to meet with the team in-person every week, but you can use technology to hold virtual get-togethers. In this way, remote workers can feel more connected to each other and their colleagues in the office.
This doesn’t just mean your weekly briefing meetings but can be a social experience too. It could be a coffee break or an end-of-the-week happy hour to encourage team members to chat about things other than work.
3. Yearly Company Events
If your company employs a high number of remote workers or is entirely remote, you should hold an all-company event at least once a year. We all need that human connection. Hosting an event that includes time for both work-related and fun activities will aid in team development and make your employees feel more invested in your firm.
Of course, there are costs associated with such an event, but when you consider the alternative of disengaged staff – higher turnover and lower work quality – you’ll see the benefits outweigh the costs!
4. Perks for All
Do you provide free coffee, snacks or fitness classes to your employees who work in the office? Do you offer an alternative to those who work remotely? If not then you’re not treating your staff equally and this will be felt by those employees who are missing out.
Consider providing remote staff with a coffee budget so they can work from a coffee shop rather than their traditional home office. Because they’ll be with new people, including possibly other remote workers, this can also assist with loneliness.
Employees who believe they don’t have enough time to spend with family or friends outside of work may experience feelings of loneliness at work. This could be because they find themselves working long after the official working day has ended.
Make sure that your employees’ workload is not more than they can reasonably be expected to complete in their normal working hours. Additionally, you can offer additional time off that they can spend with their loved ones. This time can remind them that they’re not alone and can then help to remove feelings of isolation they may be feeling while at work.
Whatever you decide to do, remember there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that you can take. If you have built a diverse workplace, you’ll find that each individual has their own feelings towards loneliness. The best thing you can do is get to know your team members and learn what makes them tick. You can then determine the best approach for each of them.
When is Mental Health Awareness Week 2022?
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from Monday 9th May to Sunday 15th May this year. The theme this year is loneliness, how it affects our mental health and how everyone can play a part in reducing loneliness in their communities. You can read more about how you can get involved here.
WellBox has a wide range of wellbeing boxes designed to remind your staff to take time out to look after themselves, find out more here.