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Home > News > The HR loneliness paradox

May 12, 2022

The HR loneliness paradox

We’re people people, right? Always in the mix and in the know.

Which might be true, but it’s also exhausting.

And, counter-intuitively, lonely.

Because although it’s our jobs in HR to connect with people, it’s also essential to our profession to retain a certain level of detachment too. The sharp end of employee relations can be emotionally taxing enough, without an additional layer of blurred boundaries between the professional and the personal.

Does that resonate with you?

So, when the Mental Health Foundation shared that their theme for May’s awareness week would be loneliness, we immediately thought of HR professionals and how the necessity of impartiality creates an additional mental health burden of loneliness.

While 1 in 5 workers admitted to feeling lonely during their working day, a huge 70% of home and remote workers say they feel more isolated.

Add these statistics to the 45% of HR Managers considering leaving their role due to the pressure of managing employee mental health and burnout and you have a profession running on empty.

What are the old sayings? You must put your own oxygen mask on first, before you can help others? You can’t pour from an empty cup?

So, how do we stop saying the sayings, and live them instead?

Being an active part of an HR network is an easy way to build professional and personal relationships. Trading war stories and connecting with peers is an antidote to loneliness that’s very effective. We know HR people aren’t generally the most proactive networkers but, honestly, the reluctance you might feel of making some time and space for professional group is more than offset by the cathartic experience of being around the people who ‘get it’.

Dedicating 1 hour a week to connecting with an HR network online or in person is 2.5% of a 40-hour week. The potential improvement to loneliness and isolation could have a profound impact on the other 97.5% of your week. Which feels like a pretty good return on investment to us.