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How Community Cafés Replaced In-Person Socialising?

We've all faced the consequences of the Pandemic. The lockdown that came with it was definitely among the worst. For decades now or even centuries, people have associated their jobs with socialising with the people they work with.

Suddenly, with the lockdown in place, people did not only stay "out of work" for a while but they also lost their chance to converse with their colleagues. A great example would be London North Eastern Railway (LNER): a company operating train services. Almost 3000 employees were stuck and worried.


How Did They Approach The Issue?

They used the internet as a platform to connect with each other, forming Community Cafés. Every group leader had an immense amount of freedom to develop their own enjoyable social experience.

So the purposes varied drastically: from regular chats over a cup of tea, to discussions on topics focused on career development, learning new skills, and exercise classes, these Cafes were a delight for all types of people.

Originally, these sessions were planned twice a week, but their popularity surpassed everyone's expectations as this was seen to be a wonderful approach to improve overall Social Wellbeing.

With these Community Cafés, all the specific needs of the individual LNER workers were met with proper attention. So every week, leaders had meetings with project leads to pinpoint the main issues they can work on.


What Were The Results?

First and foremost: the level of engagement! 2500 employees took part in the programme over a course of eight weeks after its launch.

However, that's just the cherry on the cake. Their initiative also boosted employees' appreciation and understanding of their place of work.

Compared to 2019:

● LNER's Sustainable Employee Engagement score jumped from 70% to 88%
● 89% expressed their wish to work for LNER in a year's time, up from the previous 74%
● The number of employees saying "I am proud to work for LNER" went up to 91%
● 81% of employees were familiarised with Microsoft Teams, allowing effective use of the platform in the future

To learn more about this initiative, but also see how you can improve the Physical, Mental and Financial wellbeing in your company, download the full Health & Wellbeing Case Study, written by our Business Writer, Tom Fairbairn.