AT THE CO-OP WE’VE LONG CAMPAIGNED ON ISSUES THAT MATTER TO OUR MEMBERS AND WHERE THERE IS A PRESSING SOCIETAL NEED.
In 2015, we launched our latest campaign – to tackle loneliness – after our members raised it as an issue of concern – more than one third of us know someone in our community who is affected by loneliness and it directly affects one in seven of our members.
Research carried out with our charity partner, British Red Cross, has helped us to understand that loneliness doesn’t just affect those in later life; it is also experienced by people at six stages of life: becoming a young mum, divorce, experiencing health or mobility changes, retiring, or suffering a bereavement.
These insights led us to explore a number of other aspects of loneliness, including the impact on people’s working lives and the impact on employers.
This report, The Cost of Loneliness to UK Employers, launched jointly by the Co-op and New Economics Foundation and issued in conjunction with the Jo Cox National Commission on Loneliness, puts the cost of loneliness to employers at £2.5 billion a year.
For those employers who choose to recognise and respond to loneliness amongst their workforce, there is the potential to improve the health of their colleagues as well as their bottom line: be it in reducing colleague turnover or by increasing productivity.
At the Co-op, this year we’re extending our employee assistance programme to provide confidential support service for colleagues who are experiencing loneliness.
Armed with these new findings, we look forward to working with other employers and organisations to find new ways of tackling this important issue.