Human physiological systems are highly responsive to positive social interactions. This Wellspace article aims to answer the question – are your employees disconnected? We aim to offer guidance on how to create a connected workforce and improve the culture of wellbeing at work.
Are Your Employees Disconnected?
Psychologists have identified that the desire to feel connected to others is a basic human need, with interpersonal relationships having a significant impact on mental and physical health, behaviour and even mortality risk.
Connection and connectedness can mean different things to different people. For some, having a connected team might mean that all team members are on the same page technologically, and for others, it may mean that a team has strong emotional connections with each other, operating more like a family.
The extent to which an organisation and the people within it flourish, or not, can be dependent on the quality of the social relationships within it.
Psychosocial hazards or in layman’s terms “work stressors”, that relate to the psychological and social conditions of the workplace include organisational culture, attitude, values, beliefs and daily practice. These are different to physical conditions such as health and safety and can be harmful to the mental and physical health of workers.
Whilst prolonged exposure to psychosocial hazards is related to increased psychiatric and physiological challenges, it can be balanced by managing positive social relationships among employees.
Positive social interactions also bolster physiological resourcefulness by stimulating the cardiovascular, immune and neuroendocrine systems through both immediate and ongoing decreases in cardiovascular reactivity, strengthened immune responses and healthier hormonal patterns.
Whilst some may have enjoyed not sharing a space with those whom they may find challenging in behaviours or attitudes in the workplace, a survey by Envoy found that many employees want to be workplace together, with half of the respondents saying their co-workers’ presence, or lack thereof, would influence where they chose to work each day. This result indicates that employees want to be able to work together, in person, and that they see the workplace as a place to connect and collaborate with others.
How To Promote A Connected Workplace
Understanding why employees may be disconnected is one thing, but reversing this is another. Connecting employees to themselves and others host an array of benefits for the overall culture of wellness that leaders aim to implement in the workplace.
Connection With Others
Good relationships are important for mental wellbeing and, at a basic level, a good connection can:
- help build a sense of belonging and self-worth,
- gives opportunity to share positive experiences,
- provides emotional support and the ability to support others.
Connection With Yourself
Research shows that learning or re-connecting with new skills can also improve mental wellbeing by:
- boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem,
- building a sense of purpose,
- increases connection with others.
Connection, especially via social relationships, is integral to physical and mental wellbeing. So how do organisational managers ensure teams are staying connected, especially when working flexibly?
Dedicating time to specifically promoting social interaction in the workplace is a route to ensuring that a relationship-centred approach doesn’t suffer amidst the day-to-day pressure.
Employees who are more satisfied with the overall quality of their workplace relationships are likely to be, and stay, more attached to the organisation. Leaders who encourage informal interactions, such as out-of-hours social gatherings, can foster the development of more positive connections, significantly influencing and improving employee satisfaction as well as engagement, productivity and employee retention.
Creating a 360 Connection
Employees who engage in positive social interactions also tend to exhibit more altruistic behaviours by providing co-workers with help, guidance and feedback. Equally the opportunity for peer-to-peer mentoring for those moving into new roles helps to further build connections and meet organisational goals.
Encourage Personal Development
Much research shows that connecting or re-connecting with skills leads to increased life satisfaction, optimism and improved ability to enjoy life to the fullest.
Actively supporting employees to learn is also one of the most beneficial ways to treat mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Workplace and external learning helps employees to meet others with similar interests, providing an opportunity for connection as well as building skills for organisational benefit.
Avoid the Emotional Impact
There are indications that wellbeing is enhanced through interactions when they are trusting, collaborative and positive, as well as when employees feel valued and respected.
Interactions lacking these characteristics detract from wellbeing and can negatively impact sleeping patterns, socialising, exercise, personal relations, energy, career progression and productivity.
Organisational leaders should be proactively equipped to minimise negative interactions between employees by mediating and resolving differences early on, to build a culture of open communication that fosters trust and good connection.
A large element of cultivating a culture of wellbeing includes fostering social connections and supporting social wellbeing amongst employees. Building social connections in the workplace doesn’t mean that all employees should be friends, but there should be an environment that supports mutual respect, trust and belonging among peers
Connection, and the quality of it, is integral to mental health, wellbeing and a well-performing workforce.
Creating A Connected Workforce With Wellspace
Maintaining good relationships is vital for any workplace and is key to avoiding making employees disconnected. Having an application like Wellspace where employees and employers can connect in several ways; team challenges, sharing content etc, then contributes to that all-important feeling of togetherness we discussed earlier in the article.
This is essentially important with the rise of remote working, where in fact employees are somewhat likely to feel more disconnected as they are not in physical proximity to their colleagues.
Get In Touch
Are your employees disconnected, from themselves and each other? Need a hand fixing this? Get in touch with us at Wellspace today!
Our team of experts are on hand to answer any queries you may have on creating a more connected workforce.
Give us a call on 0808 178 0748
Or email us at email@example.com