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Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in CGIAR's Workplaces


April 2020


Mental wellbeing – dealing with isolation

There could be as many as 3 billion people living in lockdown circumstances right now.

For those living alone, this increases the risk of social isolation and loneliness, which is a well-established risk factor for poorer overall cognitive performance, faster cognitive decline, and poorer executive functioning. Loneliness and isolation are not the same things, although they are related: Loneliness is emotional, while isolation is structural. Loneliness is an emotional response to a lack of connection.

Here are tips on how you can help:

Check-in frequently and intentionally: Workplace research recommends frequent, on-going conversations with specific language framed for remote workers. E.g. : “I need to know how you’re getting along. So tell me, is it too quiet at home? Do you miss having people around? Do you feel left out?”

Address the structural part of isolation: Isolation is related to access, or lack of it. Not having access to the materials or information they need, a belief that their achievements or development may go unnoticed or feeling cut off from the business are all drivers of feeling isolated. Ensure remote workers have access to what they need. Build social connections into their calendars (as mentioned above) and also add in regular one-to-one sessions to review their work, give feedback and provide on-going encouragement.

Want to know more?

The World Economic Forum has compiled advice and tips for people who have been coping with social isolation and loneliness based on the experiences of astronauts and submariners.
Gallup created a managers guide for dealing with remote workers’ isolation and loneliness.

All the guides in the series