There has been much talk in the media about the way companies intend their staff to work when the “work from home if you can” guidance is relaxed. Some businesses have decided that people can carry on working from home and it will save them a lot of money on office building rentals. Some are insisting everyone goes back to the office, but some are going for a hybrid approach. If you are in the position of making such a decision, it would be worth looking at the guidance recently published on workplace loneliness by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport so you can consider the impact of working arrangements on staff wellbeing.
The report provides guidance to help employers understand the issue of workplace loneliness and to identify what they can do to support their staff. It is based on consultation with businesses and employers and identifies five key themes to tackle loneliness at work. These are:
1. Culture and infrastructure: identifying what really matters to employees and aligning with corporate values and embedding loneliness into other wellbeing and welfare activities;
2. Management: the kinds of support and guidance which can help managers to identify and help the people working for them who are experiencing loneliness and the training that managers might need;
3. People and networks: how people have used networks to tackle loneliness including while working remotely;
4. Work and workplace design: how employers have tackled a dispersed workforce and the tools and systems which can promote visibility and connections;
5. Wider role in the community: how some employers have sought to tackle loneliness beyond their immediate workforce.
The report contains examples of good practice and learning and maps them onto what is generally known about loneliness and ways to alleviate it. It is intended to be generate discussion about what organisations can do to address loneliness.
The report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employers-and-loneliness/employers-and-loneliness