Social Wellness on the Job: It’s Not Just Happy Talk

Social wellness is an essential component of overall well-being. But what can it do for the health and wellness of your company? You might be surprised.

A lot of attention is given to physical health, but social wellness doesn’t always get its due. Social wellness refers to the relationships we have with one another. Forming healthy relationships is an important part of everyday health habits. Without strong social connections and supportive relationships, it can be difficult to maintain a positive outlook. Social isolation can also lead to health risks and impact cardiovascular functioning, brain health, susceptibility to infectious disease, and more.

In this article, we’ll explore social wellness, why it matters in the workplace, and its role in your well-being.

What is social wellness?

Just like you might engage in exercise and healthy eating as part of a regular routine for physical health, you can nurture your social quality of life.

Wellness pertains to caring for yourself. Social wellness is an essential component of that self-care. Just like you might engage in exercise and healthy eating as part of a regular routine for physical health, you can nurture your social quality of life

In the workplace, social wellness is a part of overall employee health and well-being. It’s also a key indicator of how productive you’re likely to be on the job. That means that you and your coworkers should be taking steps to foster meaningful relationships and genuine connections on the job. 

Nurturing your social health includes building a social support network to share the joys of daily life and challenges of difficult times. Fostering positive relationships inside and outside the workplace can help you reduce the risks of isolation and avoid unhealthy relationships. A strong social network is part of a healthier lifestyle. Positive social relationships can lead to a reduction in stress, better social life, and greater happiness and productivity overall. 

While some people may be born with strong social skills, others need to work on developing them. Common areas of focus include interpersonal skills, communication skills, and social networking. But it’s worth the effort to build a social circle and maintain social wellness as a vital component of total wellness. Just like people learn to make eating vegetables a regular habit, good social habits can be built over time. One of the biggest benefits is the development of genuine intimate relationships in all areas of life. 

Why social wellness is important in the workplace

Social wellness is important in the workplace because it helps employees be more productive and happier at work. People are social creatures by nature. Those who are healthy socially not only have authentic relationships, but the positive influence extends to better stress management. 

This can help in the workplace if you’re facing a crisis situation and need an action plan. Or when you need to implement effective time management strategies in the face of a looming deadline. Everyone struggles at work from time to time. And when they do, the emotional health benefits of social wellness become clear. 

For that reason, many companies have a social wellness month during which they teach employees skills for better social wellness. Topics may include how to strengthen connection to people, how to handle feelings of isolation, and the impact of loneliness. When teammates have better emotional intelligence, they can handle both social situations and workplace stressors better

How social wellness impacts employee well-being

The risks of social isolation and lack of social connection are grave. According to an analysis coauthored by Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., being socially unwell “heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder.” She’s also found loneliness and social isolation to be twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity. When people face such serious risks, they tend not to be as productive or good at handling everyday job stresses. When they’re socially well, they are motivated to perform well at work

being socially unwell “heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder.”

Moreover, socially healthy people are more likely to stay physically healthy and not need time off for health-related reasons. They’re typically better able to engage in active listening, deal with the pressure of people at work, and focus

How social wellness in the workplace benefits teams

A workplace that is socially well on balance is a good place to work. That means it’s a place the team will look forward to going to every day. Coworkers are able to work well together on projects and to solve problems. In productive teams there is less risk that people will need to pick up the slack for one another.

This does not mean that everyone needs to be close friends or develop committed relationships. In fact, promoting toxic positivity over genuine connections would be unhealthy and can backfire. However, when coworkers do form genuine connections and respect for one another, everyone benefits from a general sense of well-being within the workplace environment. Managers and bosses are almost certain to notice the difference, so your overall employee experience may improve even more. 

When a workplace is somewhere employees look forward to being, the entire organization benefits. Consider modeling and promoting social wellness among your teammates. This can take work, but it’s often well worth the effort. 

For ongoing tips and inspiration for your best workplace experience, count on the employee community at Workest.

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