Your Coworkers Could Be Affecting Your Health—Here’s How to Use That To Your Advantage

If you work full-time, chances are you’re among the 78 percent of people who spend more time with coworkers than with family. While that may seem disappointing, it’s not necessarily a bad thing—especially if you feel like you’re part of a team.

According to an emerging body of research, feeling like you belong to a social group at work can be associated with reduced strain and burnout as well as greater health and well-being. Although the study authors weren’t able to establish a concrete cause-and-effect relationship, they believe these groups offer social support, levity, and relaxation—all of which positively impact members’ mental and physical health.

Want to reap the benefits of a positive work culture? Here’s what you can do to help foster a more supportive community on the job:

Offer help

“One way to support a coworker if they are down is to ask if they want any support, and what kind,” says Santa Barbara psychologist Carol Primeau, PhD. “Let them tell you. Some people are very private, and others are more expressive. Just acknowledging that you notice and care can be encouraging.” If you’re comfortable sharing your own struggles, expressing empathy in this way may also help your coworker feel less alone or afraid.

Communicate

This might seem like an obvious way to support your colleagues, but it’s important: Communicate any important deadlines or projects so they feel in the know, and if you notice they did something well, commend their hard work. Along those same lines, remember to provide constructive feedback and help them understand your perspective if their performance falls short of expectations.

Be a team player

You’ve heard it time and again: Teamwork makes the dream work. If you notice a colleague struggling on work projects, offer a hand. Showing support and being a true team player can help boost employees’ productivity and can even enhance commitment to the workplace. Your support will likely help your colleague feel less stressed, and in turn, you may feel additional job satisfactionmaking it a win-win situation!

Be inclusive

A simple way to support your coworkers is to make sure they feel included in non work activities. Whether you’re going for stroll before lunch, starting a lunch club, or planning a social gathering after work, consider extending an invite. Looking to step it up? Learn how Fitbit Health Solutions can help your company develop a successful wellness program, boost employee health and happiness, and improve the bottom line.

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