The office is where we build relationships, collaborate, learn from one another, and engage in teamwork. Conversations empower us, and office friendships help to inspire. So what happens when an employee does not connect. How does workplace isolation affect mental health?
Workplace isolation and mental health
Have you ever been surrounded by people, and yet completely alone? Do you know if any of your employees have struggled with these feelings?
Loneliness in the workplace decreases productivity. The lack of friendships is simply bad for business. When a person feels isolated, they are less invested in the well-being of those around them. Connection is essential to create loyalty and personal ownership in the goals of the company.
According to Forbes, before our country even shut down from the global pandemic, mental health in the workplace was considered the big issue for employers in 2020. 24/7 connectivity, workplace stress, loneliness, the stigma of mental health issues, and a poor work-life balance all played into the decline of employee mental health.
Isolation can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms that might include drinking more, coming in late or missing work, combative attitudes, aloofness, etc. None of which are helpful for the individual or the company.
How to combat workplace isolation
Plan social activities during and after the workday. Look for the one on the outside and invite them in. Pay attention to changes in behavior. Talk to employees and ask them regularly how they are doing.
Don’t let your employees dread Monday mornings. You want them to love their job. Create an environment they can’t wait to get back to, a place they rave about all weekend long.
Not sure how to do that? Workplace from FACEBOOK lays out some great steps to combat loneliness at work.
There is no one size fits all approach.
Keep an open-door mentality and they’ll come to you when they are struggling. Communication and honesty about your mental health struggles will encourage others to also open up.
Workplace isolation and mental health post Covid
Working from home can mean longer working hours, zoom fatigue, and burnout. In the new post-Covid workplace, employers need to find ways to provide health and wellness support to both in-person and remote workers.
If your company has chosen to move to flexible and remote working schedules, workplace isolation does not have to be a given. Think outside of the “traditional” on-site box.
Here are a few ideas to help support your remote workers:
- Consider gift cards for virtual yoga sessions or even scheduling a yoga instructor zoom class for those interested. Many fitness experts are now offering their classes and one on one mentoring through online sessions.
- You put a lot of time into designing a nurturing and healthy on-site work space, but now that your employees are working form home you can offer them support in building a comfortable work environment. The overhead you save on rent can be funneled into adjustable standing desks, ergonomic chairs, and a home office package for each worker.
- Use digital chat platforms and project management tools to discuss projects, don’t leave the remote workers out of the conversation
- Offer health and wellness packages that include mental health apps and buddy systems for physical fitness
While the future of office work may look very different in the post-pandemic world, the need for socialization with coworkers and a sense of belonging will still need to be maintained.
Workplace isolation and its impact need to be addressed in your company’s culture. We’ve all been apart for a long time and we need to address the loneliness and the complexity of connection head-on.
Provide Mental Health Support
At Yubi Health, we believe in an integrated approach to mental health rooted in evidence-based science that can be part of your total health and wellness plan. We believe we have the right solution and ecosystem to help members drive the health outcomes. we are passionate about changing lives and our mission is “enabling people to lead fulfilling lives.” If you would like to talk with us please check out our contact us.