Social Connectedness, Workforce Health | By | 04/10/18 | 2 Minute Read

Why Social Connectedness Is Key To Employee Health And Productivity

When it comes to social connectedness, there’s a case to be made that it’s just as important at work as in other aspects of life. In a Gallup survey of more than 195,600 U.S. employees, having a best friend at work consistently correlates to improvements in customer engagement, profit, employee safety incidents and patient safety incidents. But, only two in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that they have a best friend at work. By moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, researchers posited that organizations could experience 36% fewer safety incidents, 7% more engaged customers and a 12% higher profit.

What’s more, positive social interactions at work have been shown to boost employee health, such as lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Compassionate, friendly, and supportive co-workers can boost productivity levels at work and even their commitment to the workplace.

It is especially important to implement work policies that promote social health, so that making social connectedness is seen as a priority at work. Some policies that encourage positive social health include:

  • Family friendly policies, including flexible work hours and generous parental leave. The same Gallup survey revealed that 54% of office workers said they would leave their job for one that offers flexible work time.
  • Floating holidays, which gives employees more flexible time off while enabling employers to manage the quantity of that time.
  • Manager training to teach social relationship and interpersonal skills that foster positive employee-manager relationships.
  • Positive “social norms” at work with initiatives such as healthy lunches or snacks, walking clubs, and company-sponsored races or marathons.
  • Remote employee considerations to promote inclusiveness, particularly for the growing number of employees who telecommute. Currently, 43% of employees work away from their team members at least some of the time, up from 39% in 2012. To help prevent them from feeling isolated, be sure to practice consistent communication with them. You may even want to think beyond email, and utilize online group chat services like HipChat or Slack.

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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