Workplace Loneliness: How To Manage It In Your Organisation

Workplace Loneliness: How To Manage It In Your Organisation

Thanks to the advent of telecommunication technologies and the Internet, we have the opportunity to connect to people regardless of their physical location with just a device that fits in the palm of our hands. We can talk to our friends and family in real-time and even see them through a video call. However, rather worryingly, we also live in a society where an increasing number of people are feeling deep and profound loneliness.

The COVID pandemic only served to further exacerbate this growing problem by forcing people to stay in isolation and limiting their exposure to social events and gatherings. In addition, most employees had to switch to a fully remote work model, which completely eliminated their normal daily interactions with co-workers and colleagues. After all, being in an office environment leads to spontaneous conversations about a variety of topics, while communication over messaging apps and platforms most of the time requires deliberate effort.

At the same time operating in a remote work environment presents several new challenges when it comes to hiring the best possible candidates. Companies need to evaluate applicants based solely on their CVs and interviews conducted via a webcam. One method that has remained as relevant as before in reassuring businesses that the chosen person is the most suitable for the specific role is conducting a background or a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.

Specialized services like uCheck can take care of this part of the employee hiring process. A DBS check can uncover omissions or untruthful statements in an applicant’s CV. It can also save the company from future legal troubles by preventing the hiring of people who have been barred from taking up certain positions, for example, working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults or children.

Dealing With Workplace Loneliness

Organizations are realizing that they may need to implement expansive and proactive programs to combat the problem. If left unsupported, remote employees could start to feel isolated and detached from their colleagues, the company, its mission, and its values. Ultimately, workplace loneliness could have a detrimental impact on the mental well-being of the workers.

Negative results could be weakened physical health, declining work performance, increased turnover rate, and cause many additional negative consequences. To help people establish interpersonal connections and feel well-integrated into their specific team and the organization as a whole, companies need to provide appropriate support structures at every step of the employee’s journey.

Start Even Before Day 1

New hires can often feel intimidated when joining a new company and an already established team of workers. To smooth out the process and make them feel at ease far sooner than normal, companies need to start thinking about what steps they can take even before the onboarding process has begun.

Providing the chosen candidate with plenty of materials about the company’s culture, scheduling a couple of online meetings with some of their new colleagues and direct supervisors, and making it abundantly clear that they could turn to their managers with any problems, suggestions, or general feedback, can all be great ideas.

Establishing a mentor system could also provide amazing results in addressing workplace loneliness. Such internal programs can both serve as a way for new hires to learn from a far more experienced colleague who has been assigned as their mentor while also facilitating the establishment of an interpersonal workplace relationship. Mentors can offer necessary advice or guidance when it comes to specific work-related issues or answer questions about the company as a whole.

Ample Opportunities For Social Interaction

Employers are in the perfect position to provide their employees with opportunities for positive workplace social interactions. Companies can have designated breakout areas for their workers to de-stress, take a breather and relax, and mingle with their colleagues. For remote workers, managers can set up informal channels where team members or company employees can join whenever they have free time to hang around, play some online games, or just talk in a less formal environment.

Managers may need to expand their responsibilities to include their team members’ mental health. They should pay attention to signs of loneliness, detachment, low motivation, etc., and schedule some one-on-one sessions with the suffering person in order to provide them with some extra emotional support.

Motivate Employees To Seek Help

Companies should strive to create an inclusive culture that embraces the differences of each individual. Doing so will encourage people to seek mental help and deal with their issues instead of bottling them up inside and pretending to be fine. Businesses can offer employees access to online health resources, the chance to schedule a session with a professional counselor, encourage users to take time off work, and take other proactive steps toward supporting the well-being of their workers.

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