Fostering Connection: Creative Initiatives to Boost Social Wellness in the Workplace
September 29, 2023
SEB Marketing Team
Employee well-being has taken centre stage in recent years for employers. More attention is being directed to burnout, stress, and loneliness that can negatively impact an employee’s performance, as well as their personal lives. Employees spend a significant portion of their day interacting with co-workers, and these interactions can be the determining factor between overall satisfaction and a sense of isolation. While the latter could lead to a crisis, the good news is that there are initiatives that employers can implement to enhance connection among employees and the company.
Employee Recognition: One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent feelings of isolation is to create a recognition program. Fostering positive recognition through actions like email blasts, bell-ringing, or regular celebrations for achievements helps employees feel like top performers and builds strong connections among colleagues.
Create a Social Spot: Catching up by the water cooler was not only fun but also good for morale. Having a spot where employees can socialize and decompress without distracting others is a great way to create connections. Consider having a game room or even a spare room with couches and chairs that employees can use during break time to relax and catch up on life outside of work. It could also be a spot where events and gatherings are posted for all to see.
Team Building for the Win: Team-building activities offer an excellent way to cultivate connections when done with a sense of safety and inclusivity for all. From lunch-time trivia to brain teasers, puzzles and charades to scavenger hunts and escape rooms, these activities help to build effective communication skills, explore different perspectives, and allow for laughter.
Connect Departments: During working hours, it could be difficult for different departments to engage with each other. Lunch and Learns can be a great way for different departments to share their expertise with co-workers and interact with others. Another option is to encourage cross-functional collaboration by forming teams composed of members from different departments. This promotes diverse perspectives, breaks down silos, and encourages camaraderie among employees who may not interact regularly.
Share a Meal: The simple act of sharing a meal is a powerful tool to foster connection in the workplace. It can be designed as a team-building exercise by asking employees to create dishes from their hometowns and then, if they feel comfortable, to share a bit about themselves. Potlucks, team lunches, and weekly breakfast clubs are ways to bring employees together with food.
Wellness Challenges: Creating team wellness challenges is a great way to bring co-workers together. Consider creating a hiking or steps challenge where employees can compete against other departments for distance or steps in the course of a month. Other options include meditation challenges or book club challenges that encourage employees to engage and connect. Not only will these challenges bring people together, but they will also support healthier, active lifestyles.
Community Outreach: Engage employees in volunteer activities or philanthropic initiatives that allow them to give back to their community together. Look for programs that are nearby and easy for anyone to participate in. Working together for a greater cause fosters a sense of purpose and teamwork.
Incorporating these creative initiatives into your company culture can go a long way in enhancing social wellness, reducing feelings of isolation, and strengthening the sense of community among employees. When employees feel a deep sense of connection to their workplace and colleagues, they are more likely to thrive both personally and professionally. Building this strong foundation of social wellness can lead to a happier, more engaged, and more cohesive workforce.