As every year, Mental Health Awareness Week shines a light on an area of mental health that affects people worldwide. This year’s theme is based on loneliness.
Loneliness has become a recurring issue among employees, especially in the last two years due to the Covid19 pandemic. The feeling of isolation and detachment, both physically and mentally, has significantly impacted people’s emotional well-being. The Campaign to End Loneliness defines loneliness as “a subjective and unwelcome feeling which results from a mismatch in the quality and quantity of social relationships we have and those we desire”.
Mental health and loneliness
Even if Mental Health Awareness week is only “one week” a year, the intention is to apply all the solutions given to us throughout the whole year. We must pay attention to the different aspects that make up one of the most important tools to adapt to our environment to thrive: our mental health.
Fortunately, mental health is much more than the absence of mental pathologies, and that is why knowing about it is the first step to assessing and strengthening it, both inside and outside the workplace. The truth is that a complete and adequate state of mental health includes the absence of mental conditions but also implies a state of well-being and satisfaction with life, which we call “feeling well” and which, if we take a closer look, is much more than “not feeling bad”.
Loneliness at work
Work is one of the areas where your mental health is influenced by factors that can affect it, for example, an excessively high or prolonged level of stress, an unfavorable working environment, or severe dysfunctions in relationships with colleagues and managers.
Feeling lonely is different for each individual at different points in their life cycle within the company; solutions need to be tailored and not generic. The emotion of loneliness is related to the lack of bonds with the people we work with or a distant relationship with our manager. In this case, we feel that we cannot count on their support, leaving us to carry all the weight of our tasks on our shoulders. It is important to nurture healthy relationships and not focus on the quantity but on the quality of these social connections.
One of the critical moments in which loneliness can appear at work is, in fact, during the onboarding process. When the arrival of a new team member is not taken care of enough, the encouragement of their autonomy is likely mistaken for simply leaving them alone. In times of crisis and incredible stress, company, affection, and team cohesion become especially important for everyone’s psychological well-being. Communicating properly through internal channels and building interpersonal relationships are crucial when aiming to strengthen this element of occupational health.
All these aspects, among many others, can make everyday life at the office or home -if you work remotely- quite challenging and demanding. This puts employees in a difficult situation as far as their mental health is concerned.
That is why it is so important that we all stop to think, identify what is going on, and become aware of how we can minimize the psychosocial risk factors that threaten us as workers to the best of our ability. Of course, we must also find a practical methodology to enhance those personal and corporate resources that can best protect our psychological well-being.
In addition to having a healthy workforce, tackling loneliness at work can also significantly impact the company’s overall performance and results. It is estimated that absence from work because of illness associated with loneliness has an overall cost of £20 million per year in the UK. Healthy employees are more productive and more motivated when working if they know their mental health is being taken care of.
Emotional well-being program for companies
Companies play an essential role in this matter and need to find solutions through concrete strategies of psychological well-being care, including tools to assess teams’ work environments. It is possible to implement decisions and employee well-being programs that contribute to sustainable productivity while protecting employees’ health.
At ifeel, we are committed to this perspective: our job is to help companies get the best out of the people who work in them by providing them with the tools they need at all times to boost their psychological well-being. Our psychologists, experts in occupational health, have created an emotional well-being program specifically oriented to organizations.
Thanks to our program, HR managers can receive personalized, data-driven advice on improving the psychological well-being of their teams. In addition, this program offers employees a 360° mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. Try our program today to see how it could help you.
Don’t you think this could be the step your company needs to take right now to make a difference? Request more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, and we’ll get to work as soon as you give us the green light. Happy Mental Health Awareness Week.