No, we don’t mean literal sport – though regularly physical activity has obvious benefits for your health, a point to which we will later return. Here, we are looking at why, when your company’s workers are invested in looking after each other rather than just themselves, everyone can flourish.
It all starts with work relationships, which go beyond simply “getting along” with co-workers. When you foster a community spirit at your workplace, enriched productivity can be the result.
Employee friendships can fuel employee happiness
It’s easy to overlook the importance of happiness in health and wellbeing; after all, it isn’t exactly the most scientific measure. However, in building friendships with your employees and encouraging them to build social connections between themselves, you can reap happiness in your staff.
In tracking 724 men’s lives for 79 years, the Harvard Study of Adult Development discovered the significant impact of relationships on happiness, Forbes reports.
Happiness can keep stress at bay, too
One especially strong incentive for you to take notice of your workers’ happiness is that it can ward off stress. This makes social connection a strong predictor of reduced stress.
Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, explains: “The people who survive stress the best are the ones who actually increase their social investments in the middle of stress, which is the opposite of what most of us do.”
Leaving stress unchecked in your workplace can risk your workers succumbing to illness, low energy, irritability and absenteeism, none of which are conducive to optimum productivity.
Your workers can become more engaged and loyal
In forming strong relationships with their cohorts, your workers will also spur the resilient growth of a company culture emphasizing respect, loyalty and trust.
However, you should take account of the quality, rather than just quantity, of workplace relationships, as workers with positive relationships are more driven to perform their best.
Workplace health levels can soar
Employees strengthening their social support networks can also be rewarded with reduced risk of major health issues including depression, high blood pressure and – here’s where sport is of especially obvious use – an unhealthy BMI (body mass index).
As reported in another Forbes article, team sport can – as a physical activity – reduce obesity. That activity could add to the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise that each of your workers should aim to do weekly to help avoid chronic diseases.
Physical exercise can easily be incorporated into a workplace wellness scheme, like the Employee Assistance Programme from LifeWorks.
The closer the interactions, the better the teamwork
A study published in the Academy of Management Journal has found that teams excel when its members want to assist others, even when their own performance is at stake.
Jasmine Hu, who co-authored the study, told Business News Daily that “when team members have a strong belief that they can work together to make a positive influence on the wellbeing of relevant others, … they are likely to work together effectively over the long term”.