Tackling employee loneliness: How HR can help their teams
45% of adults feel occasionally, sometimes, or often lonely in England. This equates to over 25 million people (based on 2019 ONS population numbers). Loneliness in younger people is definitely an increasing problem.
Mental ill health is the single most common cause for long-term absence from work. It’s also costing businesses £45 billion a year. To combat this, ‘doing good’ should be built into your wellbeing strategy.
So, what’s the best way to tackle employee loneliness? The solution may be more obvious than you realise.
Why volunteering is the way forward
Volunteering can have a major positive impact on happiness levels; after all, 94% of people who volunteered said it improved their mood. Not only this, but research shows that feel-good hormones and brain activity are higher during volunteering activities.
Even people who experience mental illness can see “improvement in their outlook and mental health through volunteering. It gives them a sense of direction and meaning.”
When you’re happier, you do better work and are more creative, which makes for a more productive employee.
The volunteering barriers
Professionals are busy, and the pandemic has seen most of us deciding what’s really important. If you’re going to spend precious time doing anything, it’s got to be worthwhile. And it also has to fit into your schedule – many of us can’t commit to long-term volunteering constraints. Micro volunteering (volunteering in small, bite-size chunks) has been increasing in popularity for the past 20 years, and it has the potential to drastically increase participation in employee volunteering.
If we really want to make a difference, it can’t be just about the simple act of volunteering anymore. It has to be about everything else that goes with it too: super-slick tech that enables the volunteering experience has to be the norm.
Points and leaderboards are all well and good, but if the opportunities on offer aren’t something volunteers will be interested in then that gives you another problem. This is another reason why micro-volunteering is the way forward. It makes things flexible and opens up a whole host of new volunteering opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
If you’re wanting to invest in efforts to make a huge difference to your community as an organisation, you’re going to need to show people how much of an impact you’re actually making. Show us our own statistics and we’re going to want to beat them.
Is it really that simple?
The great thing about having a strong Corporate Social Responsibility policy is that you can look after both older and younger generations. By getting your staff involved and engaged in connecting to causes they care about, you’ll be making a positive impact on the wellbeing of your employees. Oh, and it also does wonders for your business.
The bottom line is that if you don’t focus your efforts on looking after your staff and put time into working out your company’s mission and values, then it’s almost pointless to worry about profits and business growth.
Want to learn more about the big picture, top tips for helping staff, and your wellbeing checklist? Download our Tackling Employee Loneliness handbook now!
Want to see how OnHand can help you on your micro-volunteering journey? Let’s chat.