Adults Experiencing Lockdown Loneliness
How Can You Support Your Employees
Being in lockdown is causing 24% of us to experience loneliness. Could this increase poor mental health? What can you do to support employees during this time?
We are living and working through a very challenging time. This isn’t the first global pandemic, but it’s the first time most of us have had to change our lives and #Stayhome to protect the health of the nation.
It’s uncertain how long Coronavirus restrictions such as social distancing will be in place for. We do not know what the future will look like after lockdown when measures begin to relax. This combination of uncertainty, anxiety and isolation is causing many to feel a decline in emotional wellbeing.
Coronavirus is a source of anxiety for many; it’s obviously a prime concern for us and those we love. But, as the weeks go by, the guidelines put there to protect us seem to be causing a secondary crisis to occur i.e widespread decline of mental health and emotional wellbeing.
The problem – lockdown is forcing us away from support networks and activities that usually encourage and maintain our emotional wellbeing.
The government have recognised this. In response, they have launched a campaign to raise awareness called #Let’sTalkLoneliness. You can access tools to assist you in self support during lockdown and other advice here.
That initiative led to the Mental Health Foundation conducting a study of 2,221 adults in the UK between March and April. They found that 24% of all adults experienced loneliness due to lockdown. In younger adults the results were more pronounced; i.e 44% of 18-24 year olds and 35% of 25-34 year olds.
Director of the foundation Dr A Kousoulis said, “While the initial priority must be to prevent loss of life, we fear that we may be living with the mental health impacts of the coronavirus situation for many years to come. This is especially true of vulnerable groups and it is critical that governments and others are mindful of this in developing policy as we go forward.”
So what can you do to support employees during this time?
✓ Make regular contact and keep lines of communication open.
✓ Clearly define their role, who they report to and your expectations during this time.
✓ Let all employees know about your employee support program and other benefits such as counseling etc.
✓ Listen and understand their personal situation. Are they alone? Do they have children at home? Are they concerned about job security or loss of earnings, etc. Work with them to find suitable solutions.
✓ Accept that productivity will be impacted and make reasonable adjustments to targets and deadlines.
✓ Encourage healthy habits such as exercise and healthy eating
✓ Encourage support within teams i.e. video team meetings. Provide the opportunity to openly discuss how to face challenges in a unified way.
✓ Encourage the opportunity to learn new skills online via your own online learning database.
✓ Make sure that employees have the technology required, skills to use it and a helpline for any issues they encounter.
Doing the above will reassure employees, which may alleviate some feelings of loneliness and isolation. When people feel supported it helps them feel connected. In turn, that may help reduce the impact of lockdown on their mental health.
hug can help you support and interact with your employees. We believe in the power of happier and healthier employees. Our platform can give you insight into their wellbeing, whilst giving them both anonymity and transparency. To book a demo, please submit the form below and a member of the hug team will be in touch.