This week we have been exploring the issue of office loneliness – the impact of being lonely at work and signs that your colleagues might be suffering from loneliness.
Here are some tips for building a happy workplace;
Build a collaborative culture – Not only does collaboration help employees engage in finding creative solutions and foster trust, but it can help drive organisational goals forward in a manner that may have not otherwise be possible. This can only be done where colleagues are truly encouraged to work together to solve problems and where there are no failures, only learning opportunities. It’s worth considering whether company leaders prioritise teamwork. If managers don’t communicate with employees or listen to their ideas, meaningful collaboration between coworkers is unlikely.
More cross-organisational social events – Enforced fun makes everyone cringe but opportunities to socialise in informal events are often very welcome for people to get to know each other. ‘Bring and share’ lunchtime. talks. and workshops such as morning yoga or a regular book club are a good way to bring people together in a sociable, non-threatening way. Events like these also recognise and celebrate people’s skills and talents above and beyond their job descriptions, which is, of course, hugely affirming. There’s no need to bring in leaders from outside – there’ll be a wealth of talent in-house.
Have a sociable, shared space– One of the most successful anti-loneliness strategies we've witnessed is a shared space for informal gatherings at breaks and lunchtimes. Colleagues from different parts of the business can mingle, sit together to chat or share work ideas. It also has the added benefit of encouraging people to take a break from their screens. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – a big table in the corner of the office is enough.
A little more attention – it’s often the small things that make a difference – being included in tea rounds, knowing each other’s birthdays, getting invitations out to lunch, people noticing if you stay at your desk all day long or seem to be down. And this is important not just for colleagues, but managers, too. All these help to ensure a better sense of belonging and of being valued and appreciated by the organisation.
Switch it up - allow employees to join a new project or switch teams — they might find new co-workers they click with better than before. Similarly, providing opportunities for employees to onboard/train new hires or mentor a junior colleague can be a win-win, they’ll get to bond with someone new, and experience the fulfilling feeling of helping someone feel comfortable at their new job.