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October 6-8, 2024 • San Diego, CA

How to Combat the Invisible Epidemic of Loneliness at Work 

Upon reading The Washington Post’s recent article on the growing public health crisis of loneliness in the U.S., we, as the founders of Make Believe Works, experienced a mix of emotions. We were heartened to realize that our business could make a meaningful impact in addressing this issue, yet saddened by our own firsthand knowledge of the pain and isolation that loneliness can inflict. As many of us culture enthusiasts well know, isolation and loneliness aren’t just limited to our personal lives, it also significantly impacts workplace morale and productivity, and contributes to quiet quitting and low retention rates.

At Make Believe Works, our expertise lies in crafting immersive and interactive experiences that foster creativity, collaboration, and connection. We firmly believe that by bringing people together in enjoyable and engaging ways, we can help alleviate the feelings of loneliness and isolation that plague so many individuals, while simultaneously cultivating the empathy and trust that teams need in order to thrive together.

One of the key ways in which our business combats loneliness is by providing a safe and supportive environment for individuals to connect. We understand that social anxiety and the fear of rejection often act as significant barriers to forming new relationships at work, particularly for those who already feel disconnected from others. That’s why we place a strong emphasis on creating events and experiences that are talent-agnostic, non-competitive, and welcoming, encouraging participants to let their guard down and engage with others naturally and comfortably.

Another powerful approach we employ to combat loneliness is by fostering creativity and playfulness. We believe that play is an integral aspect of human connection, and by harnessing our imaginations and embracing a sense of wonder, we can shatter barriers and create fresh opportunities for genuine connection. Whether it’s shaping our fondest memories out of clay or crafting symbolic gifts for colleagues with pom poms and feathers, our events are designed to encourage participants to shed their inhibitions and tap into their inner child.

Through enjoyable and low-pressure creative prompts, we empower individuals to connect with themselves and others on a deeper level, enabling them to share their unique perspectives and experiences. Our work with a diverse range of companies, non-profits, and schools has allowed us to facilitate playful yet meaningful activities that promote self-expression and community building both in-person and remotely. Witnessing firsthand the transformative power of these experiences has only fueled our enthusiasm to continue making a positive impact.

We are particularly thrilled to offer participants of the Culture Summit a chance to immerse themselves in our work through a half-day workshop in September. Central to this workshop are a series of imaginative activities that are both playful and impactful, aiming to help individuals connect internally with their own creative spirit, establish connections with new people, and foster a connected culture in the workplace. During the workshop, we will also deconstruct our approach to deepening trust, building connections, and accelerating collaboration, allowing participants to apply the insights gained to other real-life situations. By the end, attendees will depart feeling reenergized, rejuvenated, and connected.

Make Believe Works is firmly committed to addressing the hidden crisis of loneliness at work. Through the provision of safe and supportive environments for connection, and the transformative power of play and creative expression, we can help individuals feel more connected, supported, and valued. We take immense pride in the work accomplished thus far by our team and eagerly look forward to collaborating with Culture Summit as we collectively explore new and innovative approaches to tackle this pressing social issue.

(Check out Make Believe Works workshop on Wednesday, September 27th at 1 – 4:30pm PT)

belonging, company culture, How We Culture, mental health

Ben Swire and Lara Storm

Make Believe Works founders.