Random acts of connection to combat loneliness

10th June marks the start of 2024’s Loneliness Awareness Week. Hosted by leading loneliness charity the Marmalade Trust, the campaign is all about starting conversations about loneliness to destigmatise it, and creating supportive communities to help combat it. Actions to help tackle loneliness don’t have to be grand gestures: random acts of connection – or ‘micro-connections’ – such as a wave to a neighbour, a smile at a stranger, or a chat about the weather with someone in a shop, can have a significant impact on our happiness and sense of belonging.

In the workplace, one in five workers say they feel lonely on a typical working day – and of course the growth of remote and hybrid working can make it even more difficult to make connections.

It can also be hard to start a conversation about loneliness in the workplace. 50% of Mental Health UK survey respondents agree that their workplace has ‘a culture which does not actively encourage people to talk about mental health’.

Businesses in our industry have some great ideas about how to start a conversation about loneliness, and create those all-important micro-connections, in the workplace.

Make sure information about ways to make workplace connections is easy to find and well signposted.

Paragon has a number of resources to help keep colleagues connected, including WhatsApp groups so colleagues can make contact easily when it’s needed.

Paragon’s HR Business Partner and Wellbeing Lead, Kim Hill, explains that there are also resources specifically about loneliness accessible on multiple Paragon platforms, any of which people struggling with loneliness might choose to visit, such as on their Sharepoint wellbeing page, and Wellbeing & Resilience platform.

Be inclusive for everyone.

Danny Graham, Wellbeing Lead & Mental Health First Aider at PHD Marketing, talks about this: “Loneliness is a real epidemic, but sadly it’s something we still don’t speak openly about very often. Isolation is an issue that we’d love to see the entire printing industry focus on. From our perspective, that starts with creating a clear business culture of inclusion, respect and belonging.

“We work hard to be inclusive for everyone, whether they’re remote, hybrid or office-based. We host regular all-team meetups in both business and more relaxed settings, along with regular catchups, creating transparency so everyone is aware what’s happening in the organisiation though clear, regular internal communication. Every week we share Friday Highlights, a summary of the week’s activity, what’s new in the business, and the impressive work our team has produced, encouraging everyone at PHD to put their colleagues in the spotlight.

“We also have trained Mental Health First Aiders in the team, creating a more proactive approach to supporting our PHD’ers’ mental health and wellbeing.”

Set up initiatives that make people-to-people connections.

PHD Marketing have established a ‘buddy’ system, a comprehensive mentoring programme which brings personal connection and knowledge sharing together. Danny says: “More seasoned employees are paired up with people who may be newer to the business or have just joined. This creates a more immediate connection and is particularly useful in the context of print and packaging, where a lot of ‘best practice’ is passed down, with knowledge gaps to be filled.”

Join together to alleviate loneliness.

There are many community organisations working to help tackle loneliness in local areas. Making a connection with one of these organisations is a great way of making connections between people, too, as well as helping support a valuable cause.

Systematic Print Management do this on an ongoing basis, as Director James Walker explains.

Lincolnshire Cares was set up by our much-loved colleague Chris Robey, who passed away in 2022. The charity’s aim is to combat loneliness in our community through a befriending service. Those experiencing loneliness can get in touch with Lincolnshire Cares to be paired with a volunteer, allowing a friendship to develop and regular visits to take place.

“At Systematic we are proud to support Lincolnshire Cares on an ongoing basis however we can, for example through brand development, producing mailings to reach more people, and developing the website.”

The Printing Charity helpline is here for you to start a conversation if you are feeling lonely, and are not sure where to turn. Find out more on our helpline pages.

Get in touch

If you, or someone you know needs support, or you’d like to know more about our free, confidential helpline, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

To find out more give us a call on 01293 542 820
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