In the modern world, we are more connected than ever. Our friends, family and co-workers are just a text, email, or social media comment away. Yet still, according to one study, 72% of American adults feel some sense of loneliness, while 31% identify feeling this way at least once per week. Though older/retired individuals, a population we might more readily think of as being affected by loneliness, may be included here, a significant portion of this population is in our workforce, including corporate environments.
Connecting with other people and our community at large is deeply important to our health, resilience, and longevity. When prolonged, loneliness and isolation may lead to physical issues including an increased risk of heart disease, compromised immune function, increased risk of depression and other mental health challenges — even a shortened lifespan.
We spend over one third of our lives at work and spend more time with our co-workers than we do our families. The good news is, both employers and employees have the power to make supportive changes by prioritizing connection within your company’s policies, benefits, and overall culture.
If you’re an employer
- Build and foster a culture of acceptance, diversity, and trust. Employees who feel seen and appreciated are more likely to make a positive contribution to your company.
- Structure in connection and relationship-building. This could be a team huddle each morning or a weekly group lunch. Whatever strategy you adopt, aim for consistency.
- Prioritize on-site health & wellness programs. Partner with a corporate wellness program provider that is as full-service as possible and is tuned into the needs of both management and employees. This will help make things easy and efficient for you and also ensure that your team is deriving full benefit.
If you’re an employee:
- Step out of your comfort zone. Make it a point to get up and talk to the person a few cubicles down instead of emailing them, or schedule an in person meeting instead of a phone call. Opt for a video chat with your remote teammates so you can see each other face-to-face.
- Be present in your interactions with others. When a co-worker stops in to meet with you, make a habit of giving them your full attention. Resist the urge to check your email or be distracted by notifications on your phone. Turn your body toward them and make eye contact. The quality of presence in our interactions can be felt, and it’s more likely that the recipient will come away feeling heard, seen, and more connected with you than if you were only half listening.
- Take advantage of employer-sponsored wellness offerings at your company like, yoga, meditation, nutrition classes, or other special workshops. Engaging in group activities unrelated to your current project or deadline can help build a sense of camaraderie and decrease feelings of isolation.
Bottom line, no matter your role at your company, there are ways to put yourself out there and do something different. Sure, it might feel awkward at first to cut loose in a Zumba class with your fellow employees, or change directions with your management strategy to prioritize physical wellness and morale. But oftentimes, all we need to do is open our minds and be willing to show up in support of the greater good, especially when it comes to creating community. After all, when it comes to the broader scheme of life, we’re all in this together!
Urban Balance is the premiere provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services in Portland, Oregon. We deliver yoga, Pilates, meditation, massage, nutrition and learning opportunities to the office environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.
Is your Portland, Oregon area company ready to step up its corporate wellness programming? Contact us to find out how Urban Balance can support your team and wellness goals!