By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
Meaningful Connections in the Wake of the Pandemic
March 14, 2024

Meaningful Connections in the Wake of the Pandemic

Four years after the COVID-19 pandemic transformed our lives — and our businesses — widespread feelings of isolation and disconnection continue to linger. The U.S. Surgeon General declared last year that Americans are in the midst of “an epidemic of loneliness,” and research shows that 62% of American workers reported feeling heightened levels of loneliness.

The fourth anniversary of the COVID-19 outbreak presents a moment for us to reflect on the ways we can help our employees fight loneliness and make meaningful social connections that go beyond the virtual meeting room.

HAA’s toolkit Tackling the Loneliness Epidemic at Work provides steps we can take to foster connection and community among our employees: 

  1. Make social connection a strategic priority in the workplace at all levels.  
    Try This:
    Establish systems for cross-team collaboration and prioritize teamwork across various departments.
  1. Train, resource, and empower leaders and managers to promote connection in the workplace and implement programs that foster connection. 
    Try This:
    Provide managers with tools they can use to assess loneliness in workers, like the UCLA Loneliness Scale or the Belonging Barometer.
  1. Leverage existing leadership and employee training, orientation, and wellness resources to educate the workforce about the importance of social connection. 
    Try This:
    Formalize an employee mentorship or buddy program to make it easier for workers to build these relationships.
  1. Create practices and a workplace culture that allow people to meaningfully connect to one another as whole people.
    Try This:
    Establish affinity groups for employees to connect with other coworkers who share their identities and experiences.
  1. Put in place policies that protect workers’ ability to nurture their relationships outside work.
    Try This:
    Host company-wide volunteer days, giving employees a chance to reconnect with their local community.
  1. Consider the opportunities and challenges posed by flexible work hours and arrangements (including remote, hybrid, and in-person work), which may impact workers’ abilities to connect with others both within and outside of work.  
    Try This:
    Decide what “flexibility” means and make sure it applies equitably to all workers.

Get Ready for Mental Health Action Day

Thursday, May 16 is Mental Health Action Day — a global movement to turn mental health awareness into action. This year, participating partners around the globe are invited to dedicate one hour to connection.

Join the Health Action Alliance in partnership with Mental Health Action Day on Thursday, March 21 at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT for a live reveal of this year's 2024 Mental Health Action Day Employer Planning Guide. This comprehensive toolkit for organization leaders offers tactical steps, plug-and-play tools and inspiration from across our community to help you and your company take action on Mental Health Action Day and beyond.

Register here