Blog | ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but...

20 December 2017

If you turn on the radio the majority of songs will be letting you know that ‘this is the most wonderful time of the year’. That is undoubtedly the case for many people. For some it’s the religious aspect, while for others, there’s time off work, presents and parties; not to mention the copious amounts of food and drink to be consumed.

Unfortunately, it isn’t a wonderful time for everyone. Those who have lost loved ones will often feel that pain more acutely at this time of year, but it’s not only the bereaved who feel lonely. Those who have lost touch with family and friends, or perhaps moved countries for work, are also affected.

The scale and impact of loneliness – it affects nine million people in the UK and is believed to be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day – led to the Jo Cox Commission recently calling on the government to create a national strategy to combat the issue.

Loneliness is a year-round problem, but people can feel it more strongly when everyone else seems to be having such a great time. Those extra days of work may seem a burden rather than a pleasure and Christmas dinner for one rarely appeals.

The Jo Cox Commission report says: "Tackling loneliness is a generational challenge that can only be met by concerted action by everyone – governments, employers, businesses, civil society organisations, families, communities and individuals all have a role to play.

"Working together we can make a difference."

We are playing our part through our focus on our colleagues’ wellbeing. Our Hostmanship training means everyone is made to feel welcome, and also that they have the confidence and skills to communicate with others – a key part of combatting loneliness.

For anyone who is suffering, or knows someone who might be, we also offer an Employee Assistance Programme. Importantly, this is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, so there’s always someone to talk to. The phone lines are operated by trained councillors so they can offer valuable advice.

Hopefully you are among the many who look forward to this time of year and you’ll have a great time, but if not, then please remember you are not alone.

Jan Hein Hemke,
Managing Director at Facilicom UK & Ireland