Modern Australian

Avoiding loneliness in the digital age

  • Written by Access EAP


Loneliness is a growing problem in our modern world, despite the prevalence of digital technologies that allow us to stay in regular contact. Regardless of how many people we come into contact with everyday, whether physically or via social media, email and other technology platforms, we still feel alone. Rather than the amount of contact we have with others, it’s our sense of belonging, feeling connected to and valued by, others that instead seems to keep loneliness at bay.

 

With the new year in full swing and everyone now back at work, it’s a good time to reflect on the quality of our connection with our co-workers. This seems especially relevant now as more people are working remotely from home, commuting longer distances for work and living alone. The result of these lifestyle changes may be that people are feeling more separated from their colleagues, family, friends and community. Prolonged experiences of loneliness can have a negative impact on our mental wellbeing, often involving feelings of social anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and depression.

 

A recent Australian survey found that 60 per cent of respondents often felt lonely and more than 80 per cent believing that the feeling of loneliness is on the increase in our society.1

 

We live in the most technologically connected age yet the rates of loneliness continue to rise,” explained Marcela Slepica, Director of Clinical Services at AccessEAP. “Chronic loneliness has a negative impact on both physical and mental health and this epidemic is hurting wellbeing and workplace performance.”

 

Chronic exhaustion, burnout and an unsupportive workplace culture are some of the common causes of loneliness in the workplace so it’s important that workplaces are doing what they can to combat these issues.”

 

Here, Marcela Slepica offers tips on what organisations should be doing to help combat workplace loneliness;

 

  • Provide platforms for employees to develop inter-organisational networks, e.g. peer supervision, team meetings, toolbox talks, team projects, or working groups.

 

  • Encourage colleagues to consult with each other, and acknowledge collaborative efforts and achievements.

 

  • Acknowledge individual efforts publicly so that people feel seen, visible and like they belong within the organisation.

 

  • Put practices in place that will ensure employees are supported and heard if they are struggling or need assistance.

 

  • Promote opportunities for inclusiveness, e.g. whole team lunches so people who cannot stay back for drinks after work can still mingle with colleagues, or ensure that people working remotely are kept in the loop with regards to important communications.

 

  • Ensure managers are regularly checking in with their teams, and that they know their staff well enough to see or hear if someone is not okay.

 

  • Use technology to your advantage and make the most of facilities like Skype calls over VPN and teleconferencing with colleagues working remotely. It is difficult to build meaningful connections using only email and instant messaging.

 

  • Have anti-bullying protections in place to prevent technology being used to intentionally isolate people in the workplace, e.g. by excluding people from communications, or using email to publicly criticise or ostracise someone.

 

  • Create a work environment where employees feel able to ask for help if they are experiencing feelings of loneliness.

 

  1. Lifeline loneliness survey 2016


About AccessEAP

AccessEAP is a leading Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider in Australia. We have been assisting companies across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia since 1989 in supporting a mentally healthy workplace. As an Australian owned not-for-profit provider, surplus profits are directed into programs to assist children at risk in the community through direct donation and via The Curran Access Children’s Foundation.

AUSTRALIAN NEWS

Easy Ways to Earn Extra Money on the Side

Anyone who’s had to work for a living will tell you that no matter how much you make, it can often feel like it isn’t enough. Perhaps you’re saving up...

Click Frenzy's Ironshopper winner

CLICK FRENZY HAS CROWNED AUSTRALIA’S FIRST EVER IRONSHOPPER WINNER, WITH 50K PRIZE MONEY   This year, Australia’s biggest online shopping event, Click Frenzy, added a whole new twist to their 24-hour sale...

More People Want a Sparkling Smile for the Festive Season

With the Christmas party season just around the corner, there’s a new trend for people to add a whiter and brighter smile to their list of must-do’s ahead of the...

UBank Increases Term Deposit Rates: What That Means for Aussie Savers?

Source: UBank UBank recently decided to help Australians with their savings by increasing their term deposit rates. These rates are now more competitive and may help you with your savings goals...

Bosses Must Address Their Mental Health for Personal and Business Success

Bosses affect entire workforces, potentially increasing or lowering productivity, mental and physical health, absenteeism and staff turnover. Worryingly, recent research shows that 60%1 of workers are so frustrated by their...

Happy Adoption: Frequently Asked Questions about Adopting

Deciding to adopt is very exciting, but once they see all the paperwork, options and concerns, adoptive parents might get stressed and overwhelmed. If that happens to you, know that...

6 Ways You Can Help Others that Will Advance Your Career

Every good boss or coworker should have their company’s interest at the top of their mind at all times, which naturally involves helping other people. However, we often get too...

AU’s Most Challenging Hiking Trails

Australia is home to an array of stunning landscapes, from towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls to lush valleys and rugged coastlines. Thanks to the country’s natural beauty, it is also...

Shopping Malls Design Trends Driven by Millennials

The Millennial generation is introducing many innovations and strongly influencing our habits and current trends. So, it’s not really that surprising that today’s shopping malls are nothing like the ones...

Popular articles from Modern Australian

Click Frenzy's Ironshopper winner More People Want a Sparkling Smile for the Festive SeasonUBank Increases Term Deposit Rates: What That Means for Aussie Savers?Bosses Must Address Their Mental Health for Personal and Business Success4 Things to Expect During Your Trichology ConsultationHappy Adoption: Frequently Asked Questions about Adopting6 Ways You Can Help Others that Will Advance Your CareerTop 6 Stylish Loft Conversions That Will Transform Your AtticThree Reasons Your Home Needs OneRose Smith Absolute Soul Secrets Top Foods That Boost Your Eye HealthFacts about Bruxism You Should KnowThe Most Stressful Life Events and How to Deal with ThemAU’s Most Challenging Hiking Trails5 Tips to Properly Plumb Your Vehicle