Social connectedness is critical for good health and as humans we are naturally social beings. We thrive off human connection and naturally seek these interactions out in our day-to-day lives. Traumatic events and crises, from natural disasters, wars and global pandemics such as the one we’re currently facing can heighten feelings of anxiety and fear. It is reported that the day after the UK government announced the widespread lockdown there was a spike in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
At Achievers, we recently conducted research looking at whether employees in the UK, U.S. and Australia feel connected to their company’s culture and colleagues during the COVID-19 crisis. The research revealed that a third of British workers felt less connected to their workplace culture and colleagues due to the pandemic. We also found that in the UK more men (36 per cent) felt disconnected than women, and more Gen Z (40 per cent) felt disconnected than any other age group. In the UK it is currently Loneliness Awareness Week (LAW) and Men’s Health Week, which means that there’s no better time to take a closer look at ways to strengthen connection among employees.
Digital tools to the rescue! – Online digital tools such as instant messaging, voice and video calling platforms have helped to keep millions of people all around the world connected – from Zoom, Houseparty and FaceTime – there are plenty of options out there for everyone. If the endless quizzes during lockdown have left you exhausted, why not try starting a virtual book club with colleagues? We are currently witnessing several social uprisings taking place across the globe, which provides us with a great opportunity to engage in thoughtful dialogue and learn from others.
Words of Affirmation – If you’ve ever come across Dr Gary Chapman’s ‘The 5 Love Languages’ then you’ll be familiar with one of the most common love languages, ‘Words of Affirmation’. Words of Affirmation is the act of verbally appreciating and praising someone. Building a culture of gratitude and appreciation within the workplace can transform working lives and relationships, leading to stronger connections. Knowing how to express appreciation can sometimes be difficult, especially when you want it to be meaningful and impactful. One simple way that you can do this is by adopting an employee engagement platform, which will provide you with all the tools that you need to give and receive recognition.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease and many businesses in the UK return to their ‘new normal’ it’s important that we don’t forget some of the lessons we’ve learnt along the way around strengthening our connections in the workplace as this will be key to company success.
Click here to find out more about Achievers’ employee engagement platform.