We read a fascinating blog post by Jack Curon which highlighted the importance of supporting your employees social wellbeing. It seems that as many as 25% of employees in the UK are losing sleep over their social connectedness with colleagues and loved ones.
For this generation of employees, having a fulfilling lifestyle is more important than money or even their overall wellbeing. Employees now place more emphasis on socialising, eating out and going on holiday – no doubt fuelled by social media where success is presented as happy couples or groups of friends. Yet, it appears that it is harder to create meaningful relationships in a digital age, leading to stress and a sense of isolation.
But what has this to do with work?
Employers should appreciate that employees’ social connections, and how they feel about these connections, can have an incredible impact on workplace engagement and productivity. The bottom line is that stress costs time and money in productivity. Investing in your employees social wellbeing will not increase loyalty but will provide a return on investment through increased engagement and performance.
So what can employers do to help?
Jack Curzon’s blog makes a number of suggestions as to how to increase social connectedness at work, such as team lunches, bring your pet to work days and frequent success celebration and sharing. We would definitely encourage employers to find new ways to allow employees to connect with colleagues – perhaps setting up a social committee would be useful?
However, what about outside of work?
Your employees may well be motivated by a team lunch or drinks after work. However, this does not help them overcome crippling loneliness outside the workplace or help them build their confidence by trying new activities. With employees facing anxiety over their social connectedness, employers must help with the human interaction so many are seeking – both inside and outside the workplace.
In a diverse workplace, it can be a challenge to offer activities outside of work that satisfy a range of interests. Simply offering an allowance does not encourage employees to find like minded people or try new activities – the building blocks of increased self-worth and confidence. Instead we recommend offering employees a social wellbeing benefit which makes it easy to connect with professionals with similar interests and allows them complete freedom to choose from a range of social activities – from meals out at the hottest new restaurants to weekends away in Europe. You can find out more about how Social Circle can increase the social wellbeing of your employees here.
In the meantime, you may want to watch the original video which inspired this blog.