Belonging in Virtual Workplaces
According to a Harvard Business Review article from 2019, “Social belonging is a fundamental human need, hardwired into our DNA. And yet, 40% of people say that they feel isolated at work, and the result has been lower organizational commitment and engagement.” (1) Just as we need to breathe, eat, and sleep to be healthy, as social beings, we need to feel a substantive connection to others. Just because we are working, we still need to feel connection and belonging. Human interactions fill our days, and even if we are working through our devices, we must remember that we are not machines. Likewise, it literally hurts when we don’t feel like we belong: “A neuroimaging study examined the neural correlates of social exclusion and tested the hypothesis that the brain bases of social pain are similar to those of physical pain.” (2)
It seems like a no-brainer for businesses to promote this fundamental human need for a variety of reasons; however, 8 billion dollars are spent yearly on D&I training in the US, yet, employees are feeling isolated, lonely, and excluded. (1) The lack of focus on inclusion and belonging in most organizations is hurting employees and businesses. Thankfully, this is not irreversible. Companies that have prioritized belonging see incredible results: “If workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits. High belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52M.” It’s pretty incredible how powerful belonging can be. Clearly, if employees feel like they connect and are included by the people that they work with, they’re more likely to engage at work, which leads to higher productivity and greater health.
Diversity is important, but it is clearly not enough to have teams that work synchronously together. Employees must also cultivate the capacity to connect and include others. So, there is another question: how can we instill the desire for employees to include others? If employees clearly learn about how they can cultivate belonging and what’s at stake around their own well-being because of this necessity, there is a higher likelihood that they will prioritize belonging for themselves and others. In Source Wellness’ introductory webinar, titled Belonging in Virtual Workplaces, we introduce essential inclusionary skills and practices to help employees cultivate greater belonging in their teams.
In the 30-minute session, Source Wellness co-founders Jacob Aqua and Marshall Kupka-Moore, first outline crucial definitions and share some of the science around belonging so participants can begin to buy-in to the importance of this work. Then, they outline four essential keys to cultivate greater belonging at work:
- Presence - By being deeply rooted in the present moment, we can be fully aware of our own experience and attune to the experience of others.
- Attunement - With the keen ability to experience and understand what others feel, we can find clarity around our own inner landscape and other people’s feelings and perspectives.
- Connection - We can cultivate the ability and choice to relate to ourselves and each other in a way that creates bonds that sustains us.
- Affirmation - With the foundation of the previous three keys, we can appreciate the strengths of individuals, organizations, and the world around us. By verbalizing this appreciation, we form even deeper connections with those around us.
These sessions are filled with theory, practices, and behavioral modeling by our facilitators so that participants will be inspired to begin or deepen their journey towards greater belonging in their teams and their organization.
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