We humans are social creatures. Not just in the minor sense that we like company. Not also just in the recognizable sense that we each need one another. Humans are social in a more fundamental way. Simply to exist as a normal human being requires interaction with other people.” – Atul Gawande, public health researcher, author, and surgeon.
We are social by nature. people not only crave interactions, but they necessitate them. And this is what makes social wellbeing a vital element of our overall wellbeing. If we do not have strong relationships in our lives, our ability to thrive automatically becomes limited.
However, today, people often let their social wellbeing drop down to the bare minimum. We fail to leave enough time to work on developing and maintaining these social ties.
Healthy relationships impact the mental and physical state. They can help us manage stress, live a longer life, and become healthier. There are bulk loads of research which have discussed the connection between social wellbeing and health. Some examples include:
The University of Minnesota Research
The University of Minnesota reviewed 148 studies and came to this conclusion. People with strong relationships have a 50% less chance of dying prematurely. In addition, individuals with little social support were linked to health consequences, which included a decreased immune function depression as well as higher blood pressure.
In Stanford reference studies, short-term health benefits such as reduced incidence of colds as well as better survival rates for diseases are achieved when the social wellbeing of individuals is great.
A tie was even found between healthy social relationships and decreased injury healing time. Alongside report which stated that those who spend at least six hours socializing a day experience reduction in worry and stress. Consequently, everyone with great social wellbeing has an overall increased lifespan.
According to Gallup, socializing does not in any way mean your employees aren’t working. and it isn’t limited to the workday. He clarifies that the six hours spoken of may include time spent at work, home, on the phone, sending emails, talking to friends, and other forms of communication with a human and not a machine.
Importance of Friends at Work
Everyone who wishes to be successful spends a significant amount of time in their workplace or place of business. Now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that developing working friendships in the workplace can have a big influence on our overall wellbeing as well as improve our productivity. Over time, employee engagement has been known to impact the bottom line. It provides reduced turnover, improved productivity, with a few safety-related incidents, amongst other things. However, the fact is, are you taking action to help foster great relationships in your place of work?. This is quite a reasonable question you need to take time to think about as it could basically change your life for the better.
According to Christine Riordan in a Harvard Business Review, she said. “Camaraderie, which translates to a close friendship between a group of persons is more than just having fun. It is all about creating a mutual sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in this together.”
How to support social wellbeing in your organization
Many Companies sponsor activities and events to provide opportunities for employees to socialize. The thing is, people never see the importance, so they either do not attend or do not take it seriously.
To promote/support social wellbeing in your organization, highlight events in the community where your organization is a sponsor. And encourage employees to attend. Make them see how social wellbeing can provide the big break they need in life.
You could take a few minutes before every meeting, especially on Monday mornings and allow employees to catch up on each other’s personal lives.
Encourage, but do not force employees to get together outside of work for the purpose of getting to know each other better. Also, it helps when you Provide opportunities which require employees to work together.
The Value of Connecting Face-to-Face
Forbes contributor Margie Warrell elaborated on how “digital communication can never replace in-person contact in building relationships. From the personal and professional overview, she referenced a Harvard Business Review study. The research found that team performance increased 50% when the team members socialized more and kept the email for operational issues only.
Over time, technology and social media have become an incredible resource for individuals and organizations alike. There is no overstating that one. They provide ways in which we can connect with people, customers, and the public as a whole. However, without face-to-face interactions, we are truly missing out. Several studies have shown that despite the level of connection technology brings into the table, there have been reports of people feeling lonelier than ever before.
University of North Carolina Professor of psychology, Barbara L. Fredrickson wrote an article in the New York Times. There she discussed how habits mold the structure of the brain and strengthen likeness for those habits. In that regards, social connection is no exception. Habits of social connection leave a physical stamp on the individual. As she stated, if people do not regularly exercise the capacity to connect face-to-face, you’ll all eventually find ourselves lacking in some of the basic biological capacity to do so.
Today, there are still the few who will choose face to face communication every day and every time. Majority of them aren’t from our generation though, lol. Am not saying forsake technology, hell; I won’t. All am saying is know the importance of social wellbeing to your overall health, and do well to work on it regularly. And as you seek to foster social wellbeing in your workplace, do not forget about opportunities for people to connect “the old fashioned way.”
Also read: 11 Health Tips supported by Research