Relationships are a key part of our overall health and wellbeing. As human beings, we have an inherent desire to feel a closeness and connectedness to other people. People who feel socially connected experience lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression, have higher self-esteem and feel more confident.
Some studies also suggest that feelings of social connectedness can help strengthen your immune system and may even lengthen your life. While we tend to focus on our relationships outside of the office with our friends and family, the relationships we form at work can have an equally significant impact on our wellbeing.
Most of us spend a significant amount of our time in the workplace and for those who may not have a wide social circle outside of the office, our workplace can sometimes be our primary social circle.
So how can our relationships at work improve not only our health and wellbeing but our performance as well?
Boost your mood and increase happiness
Good friendships are one of the biggest influences of happiness in our lives. Feeling connected to ourselves as well as the people around us can give us a sense of belonging which helps to boost our mood and self-esteem. Good workplace relationships allow you to feel more comfortable in your interactions with colleagues and sometimes less intimidated by networking and collaboration.
Having a friend at work that we can be ourselves with, chat about common interests or even grab a quick coffee can help us to feel more fulfilled and happier at work, which in turn can lead to us being more productive and motivated in our role.
Reduce work-related stress and prevent burnout
When we feel disconnected or have strained relationships and interactions with our work colleagues it can increase our levels of stress at work and negatively impact our motivation and performance. Friendships and social connectedness at work provide us with the emotional and physical strength we need to deal with many of the work challenges that come our way. Whether it’s meeting a tight deadline, embarking on a new project, or dealing with significant change at work, having someone in the office you can trust to confide in and seek support from can help reduce any stress you may be feeling and prevent burnout.
Team work makes the dream work
Having good relationships with the people we work with helps us to work better as a team. When you’ve formed a good relationship with someone and established a sense of trust we feel more comfortable with sharing our thoughts and ideas. We’re also more likely to collaborate more and be open to learning from one another, which can improve our ability to solve problems, seek new information and speak out if something could be done more efficiently.
How to build healthy relationships at work
Building and maintaining healthy relationships can be challenging, especially in the workplace. For tips on how to improve your relationships read The Value of Friendships article from the AFA Weekly 20.08.2019.
Source: This is an edited extract from ‘How friendships at work can improve your health and wellbeing – and your performance too’, available from AFA Care and Benestar at https://benestar.com/. For more information about accessing AFA Care resources available at Benestar please visit https://www.afa.asn.au/afa-care