Often, work is solely seen as a necessary societal construct, or just a way of making an income. A job is rarely seen as the social interaction that human beings need to survive. In reality, the social interaction that the workplace provides is actually good for a person’s mental and physical health.
According to a recent analysis, researchers found that social isolation increases the risk of mortality by 29%, while living alone can increase the likelihood of death by 32%. It may seem that working with others would leave little room for social isolation, but not always. For example, a person completely immersed in tasks in the workplace can feel the same type of loneliness, which can become just as dangerous. In the same study, researchers found that a feeling of loneliness increased the subject’s likelihood of death by 26%.
Some blame the modern workplace — employees working remotely or from home lack the necessary social interaction, but employees working in an office that is well populated may also have those same type of lonely feelings. Someone stressed or overwhelmed with their workload may communicate with others infrequently, or not at all. What do we do to combat feelings of isolation in the workplace, and promote productivity and efficiency? Is it the employer’s job to address this?
How do employers impact the health of employees?
Sarah Ellen O’Farrell, a behavioural insights strategist, said that employers have the ability to make an impact and leave a lasting impression on their employees and the working environment. She suggests minor tweaks that can make a significant impact, including facilitating regular communication and collaboration between staff members, encouraging more after-work group activities, and creating more time and space for employees to connect on the job with designated break rooms.
Traditional group work activities, however, are outdated and ineffective. Many companies are embracing new corporate events or activities that go beyond a typical company picnic, or other widely used but not as effective ways of bringing employees together. These events are designed with the company and employee in mind. Team bonding events will encourage conversation that will aid business efforts, but also generate feelings of happiness that are necessary for a proper work/life balance. Events and activities that promote these feelings are powerful, and will leave a lasting impression on participants.
Dr. Dhruv Khullar, a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, has written about the impact of social isolation on human beings. He said, “Loneliness has a much more complicated effect on morality, but its effects are just as strong, or slightly less strong than obesity and smoking.”
Blaming contemporary workspaces and techniques, Khullar said, “As people grow more isolated in their work, which comprises more than half of people’s day, that is in many cases a missed opportunity to interact. Over time I think we will see negative effects of working remotely, working alone, working digitally, on people’s health.”
The workplace doesn’t have to be a missed opportunity to interact, though. It’s important to keep in mind that positive conversation and friendly relationships between coworkers generates the necessary social interaction to provide employees a healthier environment, which in turn, promotes productivity.
HSG can make work less dreary!
We offer many choices for corporate team bonding activities and games for indoor or outdoor events across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth.
Laughter yoga, an increasingly popular team bonding event, improves the way employees relate to each other. Laughter yoga reduces stress and eases muscle tension, while bringing employees together to participate in an enjoyable activity. In a workplace that is often a high-stress environment, humour is an effective tool to develop resilience and positivity among staff.
We also offer a number of other popular team bonding activities, including corporate team cooking classes, The Great Race, meditation training, beauty treatments, and more. We even design customized events based on your needs.
Massage therapy is another option to introduce into your workplace. Studies show that massage is an effective treatment for reducing pain, stress, and muscle tension. Our corporate massage services are often used by companies looking to reward their employees, or to increasing workplace wellness, focus, and productivity.