More support needed to combat working from home loneliness
March 29, 2022
With Mental Health Awareness Week just around the corner, more needs to be done to address the ongoing issues of working from home loneliness – say recruitment experts.
While many employees have adapted to a fulltime or partial working from home policy, research* shows that one in five people struggle with loneliness – the theme of this year’s Mental Health Foundation’s awareness campaign which runs from 9-15 May.
The aim of the week is to tackle issues around loneliness primarily in communities, which the Foundation says has been driven up as a result of the pandemic.
But Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment says more support is needed for staff who continue to battle feelings of loneliness and isolation while working from home, which latest figures reveal affects 30.9 per cent of remote workers in the UK.
Managing Director Nel Woolcott said: “Discussions around mental health and wellbeing are more relevant than ever. We know that the working landscape has changed permanently for many people over the past two years – and for a large number of people, that has meant a continuation of remote working where they may feel lonely.
“The working from home model itself has also changed, from those early and somewhat exciting days of adjusting to a new work/life balance to something that is now a daily routine.
“For some workers, they may spend day after day not speaking to or seeing anyone, they feel abandoned and left to get on with things while feeling unsupported and/or isolated.
“There is a big onus on employers of remote staff in particular to ensure that they are meeting their duty of care.”
Some actions employers can take to address the wellbeing of staff who may feel lonely:
- Actively promote an open culture where employees feel they can talk about their mental health. Go one step further and develop awareness of mental health among employees – identify what it is, what mental ill-health means and what support/assistance is available
- Encourage staff to maintain a routine – planning their time and taking their holidays
- Ensure employees are not working excessive hours and have a healthy work-life balance. Unless an emergency, try not to call them outside of working hours
- Provide training covering topics such as managing stress, mindfulness and personal resilience, as well as training for managers and senior staff on supporting employees
- Encourage staff to maintain informal discussions with colleagues and clients while working remotely
- Create a guilt-free culture when it comes to flexible working – promote lunch breaks, walks in the sunshine, going to the gym, attending their child’s school event, taking the dog for a walk
- Being an approachable and sympathetic manager and supervisor is particularly important for junior members of staff and make the time to have regular catch ups
- Recognise and reward individual and team achievements – a much-deserved pat on the back will go a long way.