How Social Connections Can Enhance Your Wellness Program

Most Americans spend a third of their day at work. With that, most of their daily human interactions come are with their coworkers. These work relationships or social connections are incredibly important to employee well-being and it’s important for employers to understand the importance of social connections in the workplace.

Social Connections in the Workplace

The importance of these relationships can directly affect an employee’s stress level or happiness at their office. These interactions can have a negative impact on the employees work performance and health, if these are negative experiences, as not many are able to work as diligently when faced with high levels of stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can have negative effects to your body, mood, and behavior. The effects range from headache and are as serious as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Strong Social Connections Can Lead to Healthier Workplace

Employers who help support social connections in the workplace build a stronger and more cohesive work environment, which leads to a more successful workforce. Employees with strong social connections are typically healthier, according to the Mayo Clinic. The benefits of these connections:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
Workplace Collaboration, Communication & Social Connections

It’s rare that employees go into work seeking to make friends or establish relationships with their coworkers because it can be difficult to find ways to relate to a coworker on a personal level that endears you to them. That is why it’s important that the employer promotes a workplace culture that encourages collaboration, communication and social interaction between employees. This helps foster a work environment that supports trust, a sense of belonging, respect and camaraderie amongst employees.

Some ways employers can look to help promote this initiative are:

  • Team building exercises: These activities should be fun and a way for workers to relax. Activities such as office trivia, escape room or even field trips (they’re not just for kids) is a great way to help build connections.
  • Team wellness challenges: While staying healthy is an individual aspect, many struggle with it because of lack of motivation. Creating a team walking or step challenge is a great way to help encourage social interactions and create a since of belonging.
  • Team meals: The easiest way to establish connections is to break bread together. Employers can host weekly or monthly team meal to help social engagement.
  • Open office areas: Depending on the size of a company, it’s easy to for employees in different departments to have no knowledge of one another. An open office area, or taking time out to introduce teammates from different departments a chance at social interaction that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Strong social connections improve happiness and physical health, which can translate into better work performance. Just as important as an employer’s wellness offerings are is their fostering of a culture that supports social well-being among employees.

For team wellness challenge ideas, check out MoveSpring by Stridekick! Fun, easy-to-use health platform for companies and organizations. Connect any activity tracking device and get moving as a group!