The well-being of Finns at work has deteriorated during the COVID-19 pandemic: young workers and single remote workers, in particular, suffer from the protracted situation. HelsinkiMission is tackling this societal challenge by launching the world's first programme focusing on the prevention of loneliness in work communities. HelsinkiMission invites companies to promote well-being at work.
Those experiencing loneliness are not alone: already one in three Finns suffers from loneliness, and it is increasingly experienced in the workplace as well. A special report by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the feeling of loneliness in about a quarter of the working-age population. Particularly, the well-being at work of young and single people working remotely has deteriorated. Loneliness manifests itself in the workplace, for example, in increased sick leaves.
HelsinkiMission is addressing the loneliness of work communities by publishing the world's first programme promoting the sense of togetherness and a certificate to combat loneliness. The companies involved commit to adopting anti-loneliness tools to reduce loneliness at all levels of their work community.
"The Work to Belong programme pays special attention to the loneliness in working life. We hope that people will be encouraged to speak up about their own experiences of loneliness and that the stigma that is easily associated with loneliness will be reduced. It is possible to effectively prevent and control loneliness when the challenge is tackled in cooperation with various actors," says Tuula Colliander, Executive Director at HelsinkiMission.
Sanoma and Alko are the first to participate in the certification programme
"In these exceptional times, we all have certainly strongly experienced the value of community. Working life is rapidly changing and we must constantly find new ways to build and maintain the sense of community. The prevention of loneliness is an important tool in this. It is great to be developing new, common expertise and at the same time building good practices in our own workplace," says Hanna Johde, Director of Communications and Culture at Sanoma Media Finland.
"When one in three Finns suffers from loneliness, in a company the size of Alko, it can mean, at worst, that more than 800 employees feel lonely. Loneliness should be talked about more, including in the work community, and the sense of togetherness should be strengthened, among other things. That is why we felt it was important to join the Work to Belong programme, "says Elisa Venäläinen, HRD Manager at Alko.
Work to Belong is HelsinkiMission's programme to reduce loneliness in work communities. HelsinkiMission has been working to fight loneliness since 1883. The main partners in and first companies to pilot the Work to Belong programme are Alko and Sanoma Media Finland.
More information about the certificate at helsinkimissio.fi/worktobelong
Tuula Colliander, Executive Director, HelsinkiMission, tuula.colliander(at)helsinkimissio.fi
Hanna Johde, Director of Communications and Culture, Sanoma Media Finland, email@example.com
 Yle (THL:n asiantuntijaraportti) yle.fi/uutiset/3-11639462
 Forbes forbes.com/sites/jasonwingard/2020/02/14/loneliness-is-crippling-workplace-productivity-heres-the-leadership-prescription/