It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and the focus this year is on loneliness.
With more hybrid and remote working, it is critical that employers find ways to keep their employees feeling connected, which will help combat feelings of loneliness.
With two-thirds of employees unwilling to raise mental health issues with their employer, it is important companies are equipped to recognise signs of loneliness in others.
✔This could include a decline in appearance and hygiene, reduced social interaction in the office or even in the individual’s work performance and output.
✔In remote workers, consider changes in video meetings or calls. Are they less chatty? Is their voice lower or cracking?
✔Alternatively, does the individual seem to be craving conversation and contact, or being overly talkative?
Changes to behaviour patterns can provide the opportunity to check in with employees about their wellbeing.
It’s important to ask how they are doing and offering more regular meetings to catch up on their work. Individuals need to feel they are engaged in meaningful conversation.
Leaders should practise ‘active listening’ – a skill that requires a genuine understanding and retention of what’s being said and providing a considered response.
This means not speaking over individuals or second-guessing what they’re saying. Instead, take a back seat, listen attentively to what’s being said and show you’ve taken it on board by repeating key phrases or asking relevant questions to demonstrate your understanding.