Work relationships are incredibly important to employee well-being. It’s about more than simply “getting along” with a co-worker. As humans, we crave contact and connection with other folks. Unfortunately, for most employees, work can be a very lonely place. Even though you’re probably acquainted with the phrase, “I’m here to work, not to socialize,” it’s very important to employers to understand precisely how important social connections at work really are.
Full-time employees spend most their time in the office. Which explains why work relationships are so important to employee well-being. These relationships can either positively or negatively affect an employee’s stress levels, productivity and general feelings of happiness. These factors not only affect an employee’s work performance, but it impacts employee health too.
Social psychologists have been studying the human need of belonging for quite some time. It’s been discovered that feeling a feeling of belonging can be an important intrinsic motivator. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs includes a sense of belonging as a major need that motivates human behavior – just like food, shelter and safety.
Relationships are necessary to happiness. Quality relationships provide help and support build self-worth – which both lead to feelings of happiness. The Harvard Study of Adult Development tracked the lives of 724 men for 79 years. Researchers hoped to find the trick to success, happiness and a good life. The analysis discovered that relationships tremendously impact our health, happiness and standard of living. It had been also discovered that the grade of relationships mattered more than quantity.
Less stress. Research from Shawn Achor, writer of The Happiness Advantage, discovered that social connection is one of the biggest predictors of happiness and reduced stress. Achor points out that friendships boost happiness, which, also reduces feelings of stress. He claims that “The people who survive stress the best will be the ones who actually increase their social investments in the center of stress, which is the opposite of what the majority of us do.”
Low stress levels are really beneficial at work. No employee performs his / her best when dealing with chronic stress or burnout. High levels of workplace stress can lead to absenteeism, illness, low energy, and irritability. By helping employees foster social connections at the job, employers can lessen some workplace stress.
Increased engagement and loyalty. Employees with friends or social connections at the job tend to be engaged and loyal workers. It is because quality work relationships help create a strong company culture that emphasizes respect, loyalty and trust. Social connection offers a sense of cohesion at work, which is vital for cultivating creativity, teamwork and collaboration. Employees with positive relationships are more dedicated and motivated to perform their finest. A work place that promotes social connection might also experience better recruitment outcomes as well.
Healthier life. Employees with strong social connections are usually healthier. According to Mayo Clinic, “Adults with strong social support have a reduced threat of many significant health issues, including depression, high blood circulation pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).” It is also noted that research discovered that older adults with a rich social life and quality relationships will probably live a longer life than those with fewer social connections. This is very important to employers because healthy employees generally have higher levels of work performance, take less sick days and bring more energy to the workplace.
Unfortunately, forming relationships in the workplace can seem a bit intimidating for most employees. No-one wants to overstep any boundaries, and sometimes it could be difficult to find ways to bond with colleagues on a personal level. That is why it’s important that employers promote a workplace culture that encourages social interaction and helps employees connect. Employers can do this by emphasizing the value of social and emotional well-being in their workplace wellness program. Here are some ideas for promoting social connection in your company:
Generate a social spot. Sometimes it could be difficult for employees to socialize because they don’t have a location at work where they feel safe doing so. Developing a “social spot” for your employees gives them a location where they can decompress or socialize without distracting other colleagues. Consider repurposing an empty area in your company to make a Zen room or game room for employees to hold out over their breaks. If you don’t have an extra room to utilize, try establishing some chairs or couches by popular spots for socializing at work – like the break room or the region by water cooler.
Celebrate. Find new what to celebrate with your employees. While birthdays and holidays are always a cause for celebration, start thinking beyond your box to find different reasons to celebrate. Hold gross annual ceremonies to recognize employees because of their effort, host employee appreciation days monthly or take your team out for a good lunch after obtaining a firm goal.
Connect departments. Sometimes it’s problematic for employees to socialize at the job because of the office layout or different departments not having any connection with one another. Simply by taking the time to introduce teammates from different departments, employers provides an opportunity for social connection. Employees will also reap the benefits of having team outings – such as volunteer events or lunches – with other employees from different departments that they typically don’t reach interact with.
Encourage team building. Fun team development exercises can be a smart way to bring colleagues together. However, employers should comprehend that these team development exercises shouldn’t seem forced or uncomfortable for employees. When implemented properly, effective team building activities are great for cultivating a feeling of unity and comradery among employees. Team development exercises should be utilized to help colleagues unwind, have some fun and build connections. Some ideas include office trivia, book clubs, sports team, or escape rooms.
Inspire positivity. Creating a positive work place can help employees feel more comfortable around one another. A positive work place will also help encourage social interaction and positive communication among colleagues. Employers can help inspire positivity by practicing gratitude, promoting laughter and using positive messaging.
Utilize wellness challenges. Instead of focusing solely on wellness challenges at the average person level, start creating team wellness challenges. For example, a team walking challenge will challenge colleagues to get together and compete as a team for taking more steps in a single month than other departments. Daily walking clubs are another excellent proven fact that can also be used to encourage social connections.
Share meals. It’s easy for everyone to bond more than a bowl of food. Employers provides opportunities for social engagement by hosting healthy potlucks or monthly team lunches. A weekly team breakfast is another smart way to bring colleagues together. Try adding in a morning game to make a team breakfast somewhat more fun.
Part of cultivating a culture of wellness includes fostering social connections and supporting social well-being among employees. Building social connections at work doesn’t have to imply that all employees should be close friends or that everyone gets along on a regular basis. It’s about fostering a host that supports mutual respect, trust and belonging among peers.