Good relationships do matter and are core to our well-being. Research shows that individuals who have positive, meaningful relationships with others are happier than those who do not.
In the Harvard Grant Study, researchers followed undergraduates for 75-plus years and tracked happiness, relationships, and social interaction. Dr. George Vaillant, who directed the study for 32 years, said strong relationships are the strongest predictor of life satisfaction. And these strong connections become even more important as people age.
Building relationships can improve wellness
What can you do to help build good relationships between employees or participants in your organization? Provide opportunities for employees or participants to interact. These opportunities can help foster positive relationships that benefit individuals and your organization.
Simple activities like organizing a group hike, participating in service projects as an organization, or hosting Lunch 'n' Learn meeting gives people a chance to interact and develop relationships that can have a positive effect on wellness program participation.
Create a Who's Who Challenge
Here's another way to help participants or employees get to know each other. Create a Who's Who Challenge. It's a simple activity designed to encourage people to get to know each other better within your organization and help foster positive relationships.
Here is how a Who's Who Challenge may work within your organization or the groups you work with:
- Ask participants to share one interesting and not well-known fun fact about themselves with you or your wellness coordinator via email.
- Create a worksheet with the participant fun facts (keep the names anonymous) and distribute this sheet to everyone.
- Challenge participants to go find out who the fun facts are about. Instead of emailing or calling fellow co-workers, encourage participants to walk around the office for a short chat to learn more about each other.
- Once participants have determined which fact belongs to who, each participant can sign the other participant's worksheet.
- Collect worksheets from those who participate.
- Announce the individual that got the most number of fun facts correct.
- Announce which fun fact belongs to each participant.
- Offer Health Activity Tracker points or some other wellness incentive for those who participate.
Remember: It's important to encourage participants to devote some of their time each day toward relationship building. Even the smallest interactions such as grabbing a cup of coffee together over a morning break, or popping your head into a co-workers office to say hello, can help build the foundation of a good relationship, especially if these interactions are face-to-face.
What are you doing within your organization or with the groups you work with to build relationships? Please share with us! Contact Shawn Tausz Meyers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your responses or with any questions regarding your wellness program initiatives.