When you think of wellbeing, you might think of physical or mental health, but you probably don’t think of your relationships. Although it’s an often-overlooked pillar, social wellbeing is actually a vital component of your overall health and wellbeing.  

Humans are all naturally social creatures and, regardless of whether you’re introverted or extroverted, your social connections and the people in your life have a huge impact on your happiness and health! 

Given that most people spend the vast majority of their time at work, it’s no surprise that professional relationships can have a significant impact on overall wellbeing. 

Social wellbeing in the workplace can stem from relationships with colleagues, alignment with company values, and feeling valued as a person, colleague and employee. It’s the role of HR leaders and managers to ensure the work environment is a suitable place for employees to foster positive relationships and develop lasting friendships. 

According to research by Gallup, employees who have close friends at work are seven times more likely to feel engaged at work. The same research also showed that businesses that encourage positive work relationships have seen 36 percent fewer safety incidents, seven percent more engaged customers, and 12 percent higher profit. 

With the ever-shifting work patterns in our current climate – between remote working, hybrid working, and returning to the office – it can be challenging to maintain workplace friendships. But these relationships are still so important! 

So, how can you support your employees with sustaining workplace friendships, social interaction and a sense of belonging regardless of work location? 

1. Create a sense of belonging

One of the simplest ways to nurture the social wellbeing of your workforce is to foster a sense of belonging by prioritising social interactions and inclusiveness. The best way to do this is by embracing diversity and forming a welcoming, caring workplace culture.  

How do you do this? Simply by showing your employees that you care about them as people. One example of how to do this would be to promote work-life balance to your employees, this lets them know that you value their health and happiness. You could also opt to create more collaborative environments that allow your employees to know that their opinions are valued and heard. 

2. Show employee appreciation

Creating a culture of recognition helps employees form strong social connections at work, and to feel like they’re a valued part of the team. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and a simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way in improving the way employees feel about themselves and their work. This also motivates them to work harder and be more productive. 

Employees are far more likely to work at their best when they feel supported within a company that values them. Celebrating company wins – both big and small – is one great way to show more employee appreciation while also encouraging peer-to-peer recognition! 

3. Encourage social interactions in the workplace

Encouraging employees to have informal conversations – both during and outside of work – and providing them with both the time and tools to do so helps to boost their social wellbeing at work. 

This is easier when you’re working in the office, as people can pop over to desks or gather in the kitchen for a chat. These exchanges often facilitate cross-departmental communication and build a sense of community in the workplace. 

If your employees are working remotely, you can still encourage these candid interactions without being face-to-face. Using an online platform that allows employees to build virtual communities with their colleagues enables workers to informally connect with each other digitally. Another suggestion is to encourage your staff to set up virtual coffee catch ups for their social fix.

4. Make time for fun

Organising activities that give the team a chance to socialise together outside of work is a fantastic way to improve social wellbeing in the workplace. Having fun together not only breaks up the routine but also encourages creativity and collaboration.  

If your employees are working from home, try implementing initiatives and strategies for employees to stay connected when working remotely. Weekly virtual catchups with colleagues and peers are a great way to do this. You can organise fun activities to do as a team, or simply just create the space for people to have informal conversations with no agenda. 

It’s important to make sure that these spaces aren’t creating an additional burden for employees. Catchups – whether virtual or in-person – should create space to nurture and build workplace relationships while remaining an optional choice.

5. Invest in digital wellbeing

Investing in the overall wellbeing of your employees is vital for motivating and engaging your employees. A digital wellbeing platform allows you to help your employees look after their wellbeing – whether they’re working in the office or from home. This helps to foster a culture of care where employees feel valued, while also boosting their productivity at work.

Springday’s digital platforms take a holistic approach to wellbeing, covering all five pillars of wellbeing: social, emotional, physical, career and financial. We can also incorporate virtual movement challenges that can help to boost team morale, work relationships, and more!

Learn more about how a custom digital platform by Springday can help you support the wellbeing of your people.