Cultivating a culture of positivity and wellness in the workplace is more important than ever as Australia experiences a mental health crisis.
In fact, encouraging strong social connections should be a top priority for all businesses, particularly in a world consumed by social media and reduced social interaction.
It’s estimated that around 20 per cent of Australians are now affected by mental illness. That’s 4.9 million vulnerable Australians silently suffering every year.
Moreso than ever, community means everything, and the power of socialising in the workplace has the potential to change people’s lives, let alone benefiting companies which can thrive based purely on positive team culture.
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Whether a small team or a large organisation, in a coworking space or in a standalone office, the benefits of creating an environment that encourages conversation on a personal level beyond just “work chat” is one that can flourish.
Organisations should be setting up team time, and whether this is a wellness program that includes yoga, or perhaps a scheduled Friday drinks at 4pm each week, the smallest event can make the biggest difference for both employee and employer.
One of the most prevalent benefits of a workplace that encourages socialising is an increase in efficiency and productivity.
In fact, a study out of the UK found that companies with happy employees were up to 20 per cent more productive than those with unhappy employees.
With stronger connections, a team will generally find it easier to work together to achieve a unified goal. More often than not this ensures results are achieved to an optimum level and on time.
A healthier and happier workplace
Not only does a unified team increase efficiency from an operations perspective, but it also helps to reduce burnout. Giving colleagues an opportunity to lean on one another for support – emotionally and physically – can make a difference to a person who may be in a vulnerable state.
It also encourages people to be transparent about their mental health if they need help to overcome struggles.
Further to this, the atmosphere of a positive and harmonious office is palpable. Socialising creates a workplace that is fun, lighthearted and approachable for prospective employees, while retention rates for current employees are also likely to be higher too.
The saying “teamwork makes the dream work”, while cliché, is one of the biggest bonuses to come out of workplace socialising.
Like increased productivity levels, by understanding each other on a personal level colleagues can tap into their respective skill sets and collaborate productively, sharing knowledge and assigning tasks that best suit a specific person.
We must never underestimate the power of socialising and face-to-face interaction, after all, it is what we are programmed to crave as human beings. Whether from a mental health perspective or simply achieving results in the workplace, employers must encourage socialisation in order to get the most from their employees both personally and professionally.