How to combat workplace loneliness

PUBLISHED: 17 Nov 2022


According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, workplace loneliness is estimated to cost employers over £2.5 billion per year.

Creating working environments that prioritise mental health and wellbeing can help combat this issue by making employees feel safe and valued.

With the festive period edging closer, many people might start to experience loneliness. Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but when those feelings last for an extended period, it can lead to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and addiction worsening.

Workplace loneliness can impact an organisation in the following way:

  • Staff turnover – lonely employees are typically less engaged and that can cause retention issues
  • Productivity declining when mental health is affected
  • Increased sick leave – depression, heart disease, and stroke have all been linked to loneliness

Employees may experience workplace loneliness for a variety of reasons, but there’s always a solution.

What employers can do to tackle loneliness in the workplace 

GroceryAid’s partner, Rightsteps, has created the following advice to organisations about employee mental health and wellbeing solutions. Colleagues can access more information through self-guided sessions on GroceryAid’s online health and wellbeing hub here.

Cater for every job role in your organisation
Lone-workers and short-term contract workers may be more susceptible to loneliness. Utilise digital platforms like Teams and Zoom to connect lone workers in your employee engagement programme. Continue to provide a full induction process for short-term workers so they’re fully embedded in your organisations’ culture. Ultimately, ask your employees what they want. Staff surveys and exit interviews provide great insight on how to improve the quality of colleague relationships.

Acknowledging change

Starting a new job, returning from parental or sick leave, or approaching retirement – these life events can make people feel isolated when experiencing change. Being aware of your employees’ circumstances can help drive senior leadership engagement and communications with employees. Encourage teams to share their feelings and experiences to promote empathy in the workplace.

Stay inclusive
Having employees from all walks of life means that inclusion is key, when an individual’s identity is ignored, loneliness can easily creep in. Diversity and inclusion helps employees feel valued and supported. From recognising religious holidays to ensuring disability access, it all matters.

What you can do if you’re feeling lonely

There are so many resources and organisations ready and able to help you if you’re struggling with your mental health. If you’re unsure where to turn, here’s a brief list of some sources of help:

  • Contact your HR manager or employer to find out what mental health and wellbeing services are available. For example, Rightsteps (part of Turning Point) offer a variety of clinically validated tools to support employee mental health and wellbeing
  • GP and Social Prescribing – your own GP practice is a good source of support and information about your mental health
  • The NHS website is a good source of advice on mental health

How can GroceryAid help? 

Manager’s Support
Through GroceryAid’s Helpline partner CareFirst, we can offer extra support and resources for managers on issues such as managing change, critical incidents, and effective workplace performance, alongside current information about illness, and redundancy. Find out more here.

If you work in the grocery industry, you can call our free, confidential Helpline on 08088 021 122 anytime of the day or night and speak to a BACP accredited counsellor who will provide you with immediate help. Plus, you may be referred to Citizen Advice Bureau trained information specialists who are available 8am – 8pm Monday-Friday to provide advice on any practical issues that may be causing you stress or worry. Find out more here.

You can also access free self-guided resources through our online health & wellbeing platform, which covers a broad range of topics to support mental health, stress management, managing worries, sleep and anxiety.



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