A third of the adults surveyed by the Mental Health Foundation, said they would never admit to being lonely and a quarter of UK adults (25%) feel ashamed about being lonely.

Long-term loneliness can severely impact our mental health with increased risk of developing depression and anxiety. This is why Mental Health Foundation chose loneliness as the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May). It’s time we break the stigma.

In support of this mission, we invited Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive, Mark Rowland to speak at our live webinar, Workplace connectivity in a hybrid landscape, with guest speakers from Pearson, Laughology, and Morrinson Wealth Wellbeing. They explored the ideas and interventions that have made the most difference to keeping teams connected.

Mark Rowland kicked us off:

“Loneliness isn’t about the number of friends we have or the time we spend alone – we need time on our own – it’s about a mismatch between the quality and quantity of the social connections that we need and that we’re getting.  

This is different for all of us. We need conversations around what that social connection means; what does meaningful human contact mean for you? What does that look and feel like? How do we create a society that creates the conditions for us to get that basic requirement for the foundations of positive mental health.” 

Watch and share the learnings from the webinar: 


Equip your leaders with Mental Health Skills for Managers

Embed our panellists’ top tips to help create cultures of connectivity: 

  • Stephanie Davies, Head of Happiness and CEO at Laughology, shared practical tips on reconnecting through fun and laughter:

    “Create a culture that helps people connect with more joyful moments through the week. Set time aside that is dedicated to non-work related chats.

    Try asking people what made them laugh that week. By starting with this, you’re reframing the conversation and placing the focus on fun, encouraging mindfulness around laughter and connections in the week.” 

  • Tari Okoye, Wellbeing Proposition Manager, Morrinson Wealth Wellbeing at Morrinson Wealth Wellbeing explained the importance of leadership supporting the financial wellbeing of their employees:

    “Normalise talking about finances and tackle the stigma. If you’re unable to influence or increase salary, your options don’t stop there. Educate and empower people with the ability to budget better, gain control, security and reduce finance-related stress and the isolation that comes with it.” 

    Tari also commented on the challenges of hybrid working: ”When people go into the office, they can get stuck in online meetings. Managers need to embed continuous connection points both in the office and online.” 

  • Kevin Lyons, Senior HR Manager and Global MHFA Lead at Pearson shared key lessons in offering flexibility:

    “The emphasis has to be on leaders being able to show more trust and balance. Try to be authentic and place emphasis on diversity, equality and inclusion.” 

Workplace loneliness was growing before the pandemic. The government estimates the cost to UK employers to be £2.5 billion every year. These costs are primarily due to increased staff turnover (64%, £1.62 billion) and lower wellbeing and productivity (26%, £665 million). 

To all the thinkers, doers, creators, and decision-makers, now is the time to put a lens up to your culture and infrastructure, and ask the important questions:  
  • What really matters to your employees and how do you align this with workplace values? 
  • What support or training can help your managers identify and support those who are experiencing loneliness?  
  • Which tools and best practices can you use to promote connection amongst a dispersed workforce? 

Our ever-more hybrid world is alive with the opportunity to put new structures in place to create a more connected workforce.

Learn how you can facilitate relationships at work, give your managers the tools to support the mental health of their teams, increase talent and retention, and encourage employees to thrive.

Ask about our flexible Mental Health Skills for Managers training

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