The average American will spend one-third of their lives (over 90,000 hours!) at work. That statistic underscores the central role that work plays in our lives.
However, recent research out of the Personality and Social Psychology Review shows that people who feel more camaraderie with their work colleagues and more connection to the company itself, have significantly greater health and happiness than their peers–not just at work, but overall in life.
So on this #GivingTuesday, I want to encourage us to think about what we can give at work . . . not just in terms of money, but perhaps more importantly in terms of our skill, expertise, advice, connections, mentorship, or even just a listening ear.
The research is abundantly clear:
1. Adults who are more socially connected are healthier and live longer than their more isolated peers.
In the longest study ever conducted on adult development and happiness, 724 adults were tracked for 75+ years, producing tens of thousands pages of information and one resounding takeaway: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.
2. Giving makes you healthier.
The benefits of social connection include healthier cardiovascular, immune, and neuroendocrine systems and improved physiological responses to stressors.
3. Social connectivity is a greater predictor in longevity of life than quitting smoking, not consuming alcohol, having clean air, and regularly exercising.
As Julianne Holt-Lunstad at Brigham Young University found across 148 studies with 308,849 participants, the number one and two predictors of a longer life are 1) being socially integrated (having relationships in your life that span the range from very close to very weak, whether it’s your Uber driver or your significant other), and 2) having close relationships.
Giving at Work
So where do work relationships come in? Not everyone at work is going to be your close friend. But every interaction with a co-worker is an opportunity to foster a high-quality connection and improve social connectivity overall.
According to University of Michigan Distinguished University professor Jane Dutton, high quality connections (HQCs) are positive connections between two people that are marked by vitality, mutuality, and positive regard.
Hopefully high-quality connections abound in our personal lives, but since we spend one-third of our lives at work, we should pursue them at work enthusiastically as well.
One of the most effective ways to form high quality connections is to give and ask for help. Reciprocity and high-quality connections are mutually reinforcing and perpetually generative. HQCs foster the practice of reciprocity; reciprocity builds new connections and improves the quality of connections between people.
Giving and asking for help increases social connectivity, improving our physical well-being and quality of life at the same time. Reciprocity enriches our workplaces and our lives. When we build high quality connections, our work becomes life-giving and works for us.
How Givitas Can Help
I’m really excited at the role Givitas is playing in making it easy for people to be generous at work, today and every day.
If you’re interested in joining a Givitas community and seeing what they are all about, read this post about four communities that are open to new members. Join and then pose a question this week, and give someone else the chance to help you (since it’s clear being generous is good for you, when you give someone a chance to be generous, you’re actually helping them out!
Or, if you’re interested in seeing how Givitas could work to connect a group of employees, customers, members, donors, students, alumni, or any other group, we’d love to show you how it works.Download the Givitas Solution Sheet