Can Your Work Life Be Your Social Life?
By: Lynda Marshall
Worried that your boss will see you chatting to the guy at the next desk? Concerned that your employees spend too much time socializing at work? Relax. Those water cooler chats are actually a good thing—for people and for businesses.
Socializing at work is good for people. It’s perfectly natural that we develop relationships in the place we spend the most time—work. Employees with positive workplace relationships are happier at work, and happier people are more productive, more creative, and generally more successful. Social interactions stimulate the production of oxytocin, the so-called “love” hormone, which can lower cortisol (the “stress” hormone) and blood pressure, induce feelings of optimism, and increase self-esteem. Employees then respond to stress better. Social interactions also allow employees to relate to their coworkers as human beings, which promotes better communication and trust.
The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to get friendly. Not TOO friendly, but that’s a different blog post…
Interested in learning more? Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, has a great TED Talk on this subject.
Socializing is good for business, too. Higher productivity and more creativity are important parts of a successful work culture. Don’t forget, that an employee’s attitude will invariably spill over into his or her interactions with customers and clients. Happy employees tend to stay at their jobs longer, which helps businesses save money. Bottom line? Encourage your employees to get to know one another—it’s “work” that will pay off.
Here are a couple of good pithy articles on this topic:
Lynda Marshall is the Human Resources Director & Compliance Officer at Lamoille County Mental Health Services in Morrisville. She manages human resources, acts as risk management, oversees employee wellness, and edits a community newsletter.
LCMHS is celebrating 50 years as the designated mental health and development disabilities services agency for Lamoille County. LCMHS serves children, adolescents, families, and adults, including individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Its programs help individuals gain independence and enhance the quality of their lives.