Social Connections are Necessary at Work
We live in a world where it is easier than ever to stay connected, but many of us feel more isolated than ever.
This is worrisome, especially if you are working as part of a team that is not connecting well with each other.
Social connection is the feeling that you belong to a group, a community, or a cause.
We live in a modern society that continues to develop and create more ways to stay in contact, but at the same time, our ability to forge true connections is dwindling.
A Harvard study from last year suggests that 36% of all Americans feel “serious loneliness.”
It is an astounding number. More than one out of every three Americans are not just lonely – they are feeling “serious” loneliness. These people crave human connections but are not getting it.
Social connectedness is the feeling that you are close to others. You do not have to feel close with everyone, but having a core circle of friends, peers, and acquaintances is important.
Humans are a social species. It is who we are. Our entire existence was born of social interaction. The start of civilization was a brutal and difficult age. Alone, we had no shot. Working together is what allowed us to survive and eventually thrive.
Even on a more micro and recent scale, each of us is born to a family responsible for our care until we can take care of ourselves. We live in communities. We work in teams. We love, laugh, cry and fight with our closest friends and loved ones.
Our lives are intrinsically tied together through a social bond.
These statistics may not move you, individually. You may be happy to be alone and think social connection is just for others. That is a perfectly okay way of thinking, but as a leader, you must acknowledge the benefits.
Social connection is an important need.
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love and belonging is just below food, water, and safety. Social connectedness is not just something nice to have, it is vital for our overall health, satisfaction, and motivation.
Social connection also:
- Gives us a shared sense of belonging
- Provides a support system
- Makes us happier
- Provides us with enjoyment
- Challenges us to be better
- Helps us learn and grow
- Allows us to cultivate compassion and empathy
- Helps us be more resilient
- Boosts our self-esteem
- Provides people to confide in
The benefits of strong social connections are clear.
Leaders who promote social connections, opportunities for memorable moments, and a shared purpose will see an increase in engagement, productivity, and happiness at work.
What are you doing to promote social connections at work?
This is such an important issue and it was beginning to become a problem before the pandemic.
I think managers are key to helping their team feel connected, be they in the office or at home.
Further managers would be wise to spend one-on-one time with each member of their team to ensure that they are “okay,”
and that they have everything they need to do their best work.
And more importantly they should know them well enough to know when they are beginning to feel burned out.
Those are all great points, Janice. Thank you!