Loneliness at Work: Support Your Employees
Workplaces can be nurturing environments for developing meaningful relationships, but even the best teams can suffer from feelings of loneliness from time to time.
At work, loneliness can be a difficult emotion to deal with, but it doesn't have to define your position and reduce employee motivation. There are actions you (and your employees) can do to make your workplace a place where you truly belong, whether your role is naturally secluded, you feel excluded by a clique of coworkers, or you simply don't feel supported enough during a difficult time.
Work may be stressful, and dealing with the health and safety concerns that come with an ongoing epidemic can add to that burden. When you add loneliness to the equation, you have a recipe for burnout as well as other mental health problems in the future.
Loneliness at work is easy to detect in yourself or others since your sense of belonging at work has a direct impact on your production. Feeling lonely, unnoticed, and unsupported can have a direct and devastating influence on your entire health, even if you're not at work.
Why You Feel Loneliness at Work?
Loneliness is a terrible emotion that happens when a person believes he or she is alone, or that he or she is being isolated by others. Working in a virtual or geographically distant team, or being part of a one-person team, can cause it and effect the overall employee happiness.
You don't have to be alone to be lonely, though. Even when working in crowded offices or lively markets, people can feel lonely. It's a sensation that can strike anyone, regardless of their position or seniority.
It might be triggered by personal factors such as grief or financial stress. Workplace factors such as disruptive shift patterns, challenging team chemistry, and a lack of autonomy can all contribute to this.
Technology has a part as well. Despite the parallel expansion of social media, remote working has increasingly led to employees feeling "out of sight, out of mind."
Because we are social animals by nature, healthy interactions are essential in overcoming loneliness. As a result, the greatest method to combat professional loneliness is to foster a culture of connection and community. Here are eight ideas to get you started:
What to Do to Reduce Loneliness at Work?
- Encourage your employees to communicate
Begin by discussing general well-being and letting people know that they can contact you if they have any concerns. Remember that everyone's mental health situation is unique, so focus on the individual, not the problem. One of the worst things a person in distress can do is remain silent. Opening up about how they're feeling to a coworker can help them feel more at ease while speaking with a management. Even if they don't want to talk about it right now, you've shown that you care and that you'll be there for them when the time comes. 'Are you okay?' and truly listening to someone can make a great difference. People often only want to know that someone is thinking about them. Listening is a really strong tool.
- Make 1:1 meetings a priority
Don't lose out on the opportunity to check up on your employees during employee appraisals and 1:1s. Encourage your employee to talk about any problems they're having and any suggestions they have for how you might help during your 1:1s. You might think this crosses a personal line, yet employees often prefer their bosses to be involved in their personal lives, especially if it affects their work performance. When you talk about your employees' mental health during 1:1s, you'll be able to notice those who are struggling and intervene to support them. However, these discussions will only be feasible if you foster an open atmosphere.
- Boost good relationships and strengthen internal communication
Friendships take time and effort to build and maintain, and employees will be able to establish friends only if they have the time and energy. They won't be able to build significant connections at work if they are overburdened with tasks from the beginning to the conclusion of the day. For many businesses, the first step will be to guarantee that work is not done at such a breakneck pace that employees hardly have time to get a cup of coffee, much less have a meaningful chat with a coworker. This is an excellent practise not just because it is the moral thing to do to assist employees form friendships, but it also reduces turnover and increases engagement. Breaks have also been demonstrated to enhance overall productivity time and time again. Setting designated break places away from where people need to concentrate on their work can be beneficial, as can creating a culture in which employees understand it's fine to chat with one another during the workday, as long as they do so within reason. You can also seek for opportunities to bring people from other teams together, such as multi-team lunches or multi-team collaborations; employees may discover that they have a genuine connection with colleagues on other teams.
- Remember special days
Showing your employees that they are valued members of the team is one of the most essential things you can do for them, and recognising employee milestones is a terrific method to do so.
Birthday and special day celebrations can make employees feel valued in ways that aren't tied to performance goals, demonstrating that they're still an important part of the team even if they've had a difficult month. It also fosters a more positive work environment by providing more opportunities for employees to connect and get to know one another, ensuring that they do not feel alone at work.
- Organize team activities
Employees can form stronger bonds by participating in activities together. And when managers and employees collaborate on something other than meeting deadlines, there's a good chance they'll improve their problem-solving skills. Team-building exercises may also assist employees in developing soft skills such as listening, which can be beneficial on the job. Furthermore, research shows that when adults play, they become more inventive and open-minded. Managers and employees alike might benefit from playing team-building games. Set up an hour each week for team-building exercises to discover how they might help your team reach its full potential and grow closer together.
People and their productivity both have a tendency to deteriorate when the workplace takes on an isolating atmosphere. Employers may bring the benefits of friendship to their employees as well as to themselves by raising awareness of workplace loneliness and taking steps to create an environment in which it is easy for people to make friends. You can take a look at Sorwe solutions to create various team games, internal communication activities, and a culture of feedback, and increase internal interaction. You can contact us for detailed information.