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11 May 2020

Three ways that better physical wellbeing can drive social wellbeing

When most people think about their happiness at work, often they think about their job, their salary and whether there are opportunities for development. After all, they are important.


However, more important are feelings of belongingness, feeling connected to our colleagues and feeling part of the company culture.

Social beings

Since humans are intrinsically social animals, our social wellbeing is incredibly important. With the average full-time employee spending around 40 hours a week at work, it’s not hard to see why work relationships and feelings of connectedness are so important to our happiness and wellbeing.

As we share in one of our earliest posts, how your colleagues contribute to your happiness at work, positively or negatively our colleagues not only contribute to our overall employee experience, but also to our social wellbeing, which can affect our health, productivity and stress levels.

Therefore, as an employer, it’s crucial to create opportunities for employees to not only work together as a team but also socialise together.

It’s all connected

Although we commonly think of the mind and body – our mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing – as separate, we need to think of them as a whole.

Physical wellbeing – being fit and healthy, having strong bones and muscles and good posture – has a positive effect on our mood and general wellbeing, as do our social connections. This is worth considering when reviewing your benefits offering or when creating a benefits strategy – for example, gym memberships, at-work massage, ergonomic office chairs, counselling and more.

Below we look at three ways physical wellbeing can drive social wellbeing.

1. Smells like team spirit

For employers, there’s no simpler way to connect employee physical wellbeing and social wellbeing than organising lunchtime running groups, free yoga classes or after-work sports teams. Another great initiative could be subsidising marathon races for groups of two or more employees.

Whether it’s 10 or more people in a team or class, or two people forming a “buddy” system, working out together gives employees physical benefits as well as social benefits in one.

2. Boosts creativity and problem solving

As we share in our post, 5 ways exercise helps increase employee productivity, The Telegraph reported on a study exploring the connection between productivity and exercise. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires about their mood, workload and performance on days they went to the gym compared to days they did not. 79% said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised, and 74% said they managed their workload better.

Therefore, not only do physical group activities, such as yoga classes and running clubs help create bonding opportunities and contribute to employees’ social wellbeing, the positive effects of physical wellbeing positively affect team-building, problem-solving and creative thinking.

3. Creates happier colleagues

Countless studies have shown that individuals who are more physically active are happier. Best yet, it doesn’t even require much effort. A New York Times article, which investigated the 2018 study A Systematic Review of the Relationship Between Physical Activity and Happiness, shared: “people who work out even once a week or for as little as 10 minutes a day tend to be more cheerful than those who never exercise. And any type of exercise may be helpful”.

The same article also points to numerous studies which reveal that, “physically active people have much lower risks of developing depression and anxiety than people who rarely move”.

Therefore, employees with better physical wellbeing are happier and make for better colleagues and team members, thus drive social wellbeing. So, it’s time to get moving!

This article is provided by Benify.

In partnership with Benify

Benify offers the market's leading global benefits and total reward platform.

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