As we transition into a post-pandemic workplace, research shows the lingering effects the past few years have had on employees across the globe.
In a recent survey of European workers, one third said they often felt alone, and that their mental health negatively impacts their productivity. 41% were considered at high risk of eventually developing a mental health disorder, such as diagnosed anxiety and depression. This grim number is three times higher than what was discovered in surveys carried out before the pandemic.
It’s not just Europe…in fact, the number of employees in the U.S. who feel their employer cares about their well-being is at the lowest it’s been in almost a decade.
The pandemic paved the way for a “new normal” at work – for some, that means the only social interaction they get with their team is confined to 30 minute video calls every few days. With that being said, it makes sense that one in three employees feel “less connected” to their co-workers now than they did before the pandemic.
Let’s take a look at how social interaction plays a huge part in the health and productivity of your employees, and ways to boost it.
The science behind social connection
Promoting positive social connections in the workplace can contribute to better overall health and productivity of your employees.
In response to positive social contact, the brain releases a hormone called oxytocin, which has been linked with the development of trust. The more positive social interactions take place between co-workers, the more they will eventually build trust with each other.
Employees who feel trust within their companies reported:
Adversely, low social interaction has been found to have similar repercussions as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and alcoholism. It was also found to be more harmful than lack of exercise, and twice as harmful as obesity.
Finding ways to promote positive social interaction within your team will bring real benefits to your bottom line.
How to boost social connection
Whether your team is remote, hybrid, or onsite – it’s important to recognize your employees may be feeling socially isolated from the events that have taken place over the past few years. Reestablishing social connection is possible, but it starts with the right mindset.
Here are a few ways you can boost social connection at work:
Plenty of research points out the correlation between team building activities and higher workplace satisfaction. The simple reason is, that it helps your team build better relationships with each other, promoting engagement and enhancing communication.
Avoid only talking about work
Promoting a culture where you don’t just talk about work will make your employees feel they are able to share about their lives, establishing trust and positive social connections. Try setting aside some time at the beginning or end of meetings to give your team the space to share what’s going on in their personal lives, if they choose to.
Dedicate a space to connect
Whether you create a custom Slack channel for employees to chat about their hobbies, or you dedicate a room in the office with fun activities like ping-pong – having a separate space for employees to build connections with each other goes a long way.
Our solution for social connection
At atlasGO, we’ve made it our mission to help employees build better social connections with each other, regardless of their locations globally.
Our holistic well-being platform gives teams the space to connect as they all work together to contribute to common goals. Employees who have never spoken to each other before may find themselves sparking up conversation about mutual hobbies, their cute pets, or families.
As the organizer, you can build community challenges for your whole team to contribute to, and make the goal of the challenge something that’s important to you (maybe it’s planting 10,000 trees!).
Employees will get to interact and compete in the impactful activities you choose – such as running in teams, cooking meals with colleagues (even if it’s virtual!), volunteering for charity, and so much more.
As your team comes together throughout the challenge, they get to share photos with each other to an interactive feed in the atlasGO application. With personalized challenge filters in the app, it’s easy and fun to share selfies, photos of pets, yummy meal photos, and so much more. Employees can add motivational comments on each other’s photos and even give each other virtual high fives.
Want to learn more? Talk to our team today. They would love to help answer your questions!
Written by Kelly Baker, Content Marketing at atlasGO
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