According to a poll carried out by Huffpost, we spend 25% of our total waking hours over a 50-year working-life period at work.

That’s almost a third of our lives! Do we value the importance of our wellbeing and happiness whilst at work -or do we stand by the adage work to live and not live to work?

“When is a company more than the sum of its parts?” asks Rob Cross, “When its once-siloed business units find a way to harvest innovations in the white space between them” Rob Cross, A Practical Guide to Social Networks

It is time for change. We all have a responsibility to create and maintain a happy and healthy environment whilst at work and one of the ways to achieve this is by connecting a workplace. Let’s talk about what it means to have a socially connected office space.

1. Productivity

A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute shows that productivity improves by 20-30% in organisations with connected employees. A socially connected workplace also creates cohesion in an office, which inspires creativity, collaboration and communication.

“Appropriate connectivity in well-managed networks within organisations can have a substantial impact on performance, learning and innovation” Rob Cross

2. Wellbeing

Relationships are incredibly important factor in our wellbeing, and it’s more than having a friendly chat at the coffee machine once a week. It’s about forming genuine connections over shared interests and creating an effective support system.

“One of the biggest myths is that you don’t have to be friends with your coworkers. Common sense and my decades of work with people and companies show the exact opposite. Love and a sense of belonging at work are as necessary as the air we breathe.” Annie McKee, How To Be Happy At Work

3. Communication

Modern lives are hectic, its hard enough to find quality time to communicate with loved ones, let alone our colleagues. The solution can be simple, you don’t need to have a Google or Facebook styled playroom in the office to achieve this. Like everything else in our lives, it can be done digitally – providing a virtual space that brings people together over mutual interests and encourages collaboration.

“Effective communication strategies build a sense of identification between your employees and business. Employees who identify with an organisation’s values are loyal and hard working” Chrystal Doucette, Advantages of Effective Communication at the Workplace

4. Retention

It goes without saying that happy employees are likely to stay within an organisation, and happiness at work has a lot to do with relationships. “Workplace friendships impact retention and employees’ commitment, pride and trust in an organisation’s leadership” The Effect of Work Relationships on Organizational Culture and Commitment

Strong relationships not only provide a support system but also a sense of meaning to our working lives. According to Medium Inc, companies with greater employee engagement in the US generate up to 2.5 x more revenue than those with low engagement.

5. Networking

Let’s not forget that not all socialising has to be completely removed from commercial goals, networking is a crucial way of generating business or creating creative partnerships.

“Evidence has been found of established links between networking activities and business relationships for improving business performance” Tony M Broad, Networking Performance: A study of the benefits of business networking

Needless to say, the benefits are numerous. Most importantly, who doesn’t want to go to a workplace that provides a sense of self-worth and satisfaction in ways other than just output and performance?

When thinking about socialising strategies it’s important not to force it, but to give shared responsibility and allow individuals to take their workplace wellbeing into their own hands. Providing a space or platform that allows a workplace to communicate and forge connections in their own way will ultimately result in a passionate, loyal and productive workforce.

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