Help Employees Combat the Loneliness Epidemic

Even before the start of the pandemic, employees were reporting high levels of loneliness and isolation. Now with mandated isolation for public safety, the loneliness epidemic we’re living through is having severe impacts on our employees and their children’s mental health. Connection with others is one of our basic needs, and because of current circumstances, we need to help our employees get creative.

When we think specifically about employee resilience, we have to consider the basics of self-care and well-being to ground us all in the building blocks that will help us flourish in work and life.

The 5 Building Blocks of Well-being and Self-care:

Building Employee Resilience Part 5 – Help Employees Find Creative Ways to Connect

This week’s topic of our resilience series focuses on the importance of social connection to combat the loneliness epidemic. Outside of the mainstream ideas of having lots of Zoom video calls or Google Hangouts (which often leads to a new term, coined in 2020, ‘Zoom Fatigue‘), our coaches recommend some basic connection behaviors to build.

Research shows that positive connections in relationships impact our well-being just as much as our physical health behaviors – like healthy eating, exercise, and avoiding tobacco.

One of our natural responses to stress and adversity is to connect with others. And this action of connection protects our health, reducing the potential negative impacts of stressors. The following are tips for you and your employees to have deeper relationships with those you interact with and guidance to enhance those connections.

  • Be present. One opportunity we have to deepen our connection with others is to be present and respond when they reach out. Sometimes, this is more obvious, like phone calls or text messages. But reaching out can be more subtle, like a coworker checking in on how you’re doing before a meeting begins. Our guidance is when you’re taking the time to connect with others, remove distractions, and be present in the interaction you are having with that person. In team meetings and one-on-one check-ins, devote time for that personal connection point and ask employees, “How are you doing? Is there anything you need at this moment?” – and listen to their response, distraction-free.
  • Share your goals. One of the biggest mistakes we make when pursuing our dreams and aspirations in life is trying to go it alone. Our relationships are a significant part of the fabric of our lives. The people around you are involved in everything from your dreams to your successes. Goal-sharing is equally essential in the workplace. For people leaders, make sure you’re devoting time to understanding the goals of your employees. Discover more tips as a manager in supporting employee well-being.
  • Create a support team. When an employee has at least one person, they feel close to and supported by can make a world of difference. These connections impact mental and physical health and are part of what promotes overall well-being. Share this tipsheet with employees looking for more guidance here.
  • Acts of kindness. Another opportunity to enhance connections with others is to care about their well-being through acts of kindness and generosity. These selfless behaviors are an outward recognition of our relationship with others. Caring about others is like a big hug; you can’t give one without getting one in return. Learn more about new ideas to build social connections.

Relationships are part of what helps us learn and expand our abilities to cope with stress and build our resilience – making significant challenges easier to overcome. Our network of connections is an essential resource – and they make anything you want to accomplish easier to achieve.

It’s important to remember – life can be a bumpy ride. But it’s a whole lot easier when we have the support of others! In the end, it’s also important as an employer to remember, we’re all human and doing our best to make it through this loneliness epidemic. If you can sense you have an employee suffering from the pandemic’s negative aspects, we recommend you take the simple first step of asking how they’re doing. While the question can seem daunting, be prepared with the resources you have available through your well-being program, mental health services (like an EAP), and other support groups.

Listen to this clip from one of our latest webinars on how to set your managers up to ask this very simple question, “How are you and what do you need?” with confidence.

Finding the tools and resources to support your employees and motivate impactful change can be challenging, but Aduro helps take the guesswork out of what to offer.

Learn more about how Aduro’s employee well-being solution supports all aspects of life, including the importance of developing meaningful connections with others.