Loneliness – Mental Health Awareness Week 2022
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 runs from the 9th to the 15th of May. The theme chosen for this year is loneliness, a relatable topic!
With more of us now working remotely, finding ways to overcome loneliness associated with home working is becoming increasingly important. It can be isolating and take its toll without you realising. Loneliness is not about the time we spend by ourselves, the number of friends we have, nor is it just something that will happen to us when we reach a certain age. The Mental Health Foundation found that loneliness was almost three times higher during the lockdowns than before the pandemic. With many of us now adjusting to home and hybrid working, it is important that building and maintaining meaningful connections with our colleagues is not lost as part of that transition.
How can we do this? Things that have helped include:
- Biweekly company catch ups where the whole company reflects project activities.
- Monthly Pizza Fridays which offer an opportunity for training alongside eating pizza!
- Socials such as quizzes and events like Murder Mystery and Escapes Room days, helped to keep everyone connected across the company.
- The Graduate Forum which was set up for employees who have more recently finished university, offering them a chance to talk about what they have been up to on their projects and offer advice as well as a chance to get to know each other.
- Using things like Slack and Teams to stay in touch.
- Encouraging volunteering outside of the company. Any social interaction is good.
- Raising awareness of mental health through training such as Mindful Manager, Resilience training (the whole company did this) and Mental Health First aid. This made it easier to discuss any issues hopefully reducing any feelings of isolation.
- Rowe utilise an Agile way of working, with daily stand-ups to discuss work done and work planned. Business as usual but another form of interaction.
One thing alone has little impact, but together they make a difference.
To get involved with Mental Health Awareness Week this year, people are invited to share their own stories about loneliness with the hashtag #IveBeenThere. Hopefully being able to be more open about loneliness can actually bring people together.
Looking forwards for Rowe, it is important that we continue to find ways to overcome the problems relating to loneliness and remote working. In 2022, we will be using our volunteering day to do a company beach clean, which we hope will provide an excellent opportunity for us to spend time together and engage with our colleagues.