At any given day or week, we spend most of our waking hours in the office or out in the field working. On the weekends, we are with our families or running errands for them or just resting. That means we have considerably less time to fulfil our social needs outside of work.
Social wellbeing is all about feeling a sense of belonging and having sound relationships and love in one’s life. It’s a fundamental need of every human being. In fact, in Maslow’s hierarchy, it sits right above the need to be safe.
Well, what does that have to do with work?
To that, we say, “A lot.”
We are naturally social creatures. And because we spend a fairly great portion of our lives working, the workplace is an ideal place to satisfy this need. And it’s every manager’s job to make sure the work environment is a suitable place to foster positive relationships and develop lasting friendships.
Why Social Wellbeing Is Important at Work
“I’m here to work, not to make friends.”
Have you heard someone say this at work? People who say this are one of two things: they’re hardcore introverts or they simply don’t know the value of having friends at work.
Let’s dive straight right into statistics that matter:
- Having little to no social support or feeling lonely is linked to severe health concerns like high level of depression, high chances of getting sick, and higher blood pressure (University of Minnesota).
- Being connected to others can improve your health. Studies have shown that having social ties can reduce incidence of colds and flu and can increase one’s immunity against diseases (Stanford).
- Close relationships correlate with healing. Researchers from Gallup found that individuals with great relationships recover better from wounds or injuries compared with people with strained relationships (Gallup)
- Individuals who have close friends at work are seven times likely to feel more engaged (Gallup)
- Businesses that uphold positive work relationships have seen 36% fewer safety incidents, 7% more engaged customers, and 12% higher profit (Gallup)
These five statistics tell us one thing: A good social environment at work contributes to improving your employees’ overall wellbeing.
Let’s talk about phubbing
Phubbing: the practice of ignoring one’s companion or companions in order to pay attention to one’s phone or other mobile device. It is the combination of the words phone and snubbing.
Phubbing at work is a definite sign of low engagement and poor company culture, but it is not rare. It is a bad habit that a company may need to bring awareness to. An extreme case is the use of phones during a meeting, this kind of behaviour can really impact the business.
No matter the industry you’re in, if you want more engagement, more productivity, and more life for your people, you need to look these aspects of your team’s wellbeing. Here are some tips to get you started.
Positive Vibes Only: How to Support Social Wellbeing in Your Workplace
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to creating a healthy, thriving social environment in the workplace. But here are a few things you can start doing immediately.
- Create an initiative to recognise and compliment employees who did something amazing at work
- Organise team activities to provide opportunities for staff to socialise
- Encourage staff to attend company-sponsored community events
- If you have small teams, encourage them to eat together
- Look for volunteering opportunities that your team can do together
- Encourage your staff to talk to each other in person rather than email or chat whenever possible
- Dedicate an area in the workplace for socialising. It can be a spare room or a small area near the water cooler where employees can hang out during breaks to relax and chat
- Organise team wellness activities or challenges
If you have remote employees, you need to take care to prevent them from feeling isolated from the team at headquarters. Build a virtual community so they can boost the social element of their work life. Set up online monthly staff meetings. Ensure that your remote teams know how valuable they are too and they are recognised in the same way as the staff at HQ.
The Balancing Act: The Keys to a Happier Workplace
Focusing on your team’s overall wellness has a massive gain to the business. Not only do you gain increased revenue due to heightened productivity, you also gain employees who are happy, healthy, and whole.
If you’re keen to learn all about the whole-person approach to wellbeing, check out these articles as well.
- The ultimate guide to improving the mental wellbeing of your employees in the workplace
- How to improve the physical wellbeing of employees in your workplace
- The importance of work wellbeing and how it can affect your bottom line
- Learn more about Wellbeing360, the health and wellbeing launch pad
At Vitality Works, we help businesses like yours identify the areas you need to focus on so you can help your employees perform their best. We developed a whole health system that will help revitalise all four quadrants of your employees’ personal health. Contact Vitality Works today to find out more.