John Lennon understood about connecting with others when he famously said: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
‘Connect’ is one of the 5 ways to wellbeing developed by the New Economics Foundation.  The 5 ways are evidence-based, powerful, universal and yet truly simple. They are also so relevant to our workplaces. They are: ‘Connect, Be Active, Give, Take Notice and Keep Learning’. I’ll explore them all with you in the next few months.
My current favourite is ‘Connect’. We are definitely social animals. Evidence shows that good relationships (with family, friends and colleagues), are key for our mental wellbeing.
So, how do you go about connecting at work? Firstly, your can connect with yourself. Sounds strange? You could check in to notice what you are thinking right now and feeling in your mood and body. This is such a straightforward way to connect with yourself. We often get stressed about the future – what needs to be done , or worry about the past. Yet it just takes a moment, to tune in and notice your thinking or mood. You can also notice how your body feels – tense, relaxed etc. And then take a gentle breath to relax a little bit more. Try it and see. This way you can learn, over time, to lower your stress levels (another blog on that soon). So the first step is noticing: noticing your state of mind, tuning in to your body and noticing your mood.
Meryl Streep gets to the point
Some of my favourite actors and authors, from Meryl Streep to Alice Walker and Barbara Kingsolver have written about the power of connecting with others. Meryl says: “The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other.”
At work, staring at your screen all day, missing lunch regularly or behaving as if ‘I’m to busy to say hi’ regularly can all contribute to having less time to connect with colleagues. Less time to listen. Less time to talk about what really matters at work. Less time to come up with collaborative approaches to challenges. Email is great, but you can’t beat a good face-to-face conversation for re-connecting with colleagues.
Simple conversations that involve listening and sharing can be a much needed way to actually find a moment of space and calm. They also remind you how much you are all part of a team, hopefully going in the same direction. For me, those mini conversations with colleagues in our co-working space, are one of the wonderful gifts of working life.
Begin right now – make a commitment
At the heart of well-being at work, are two things – the environment (the support and good practices an employer puts in place) and your individual commitment to take better care of yourself.
Connecting at work is a long-term practice. But it can begin with a small step right now! You could take 30 seconds and pause and look out of the window as you connect to how your body is feeling. If you’d like to connect with others, you could begin taking micro-desk-breaks away from your laptop. Or organise a team social, so that you can get together and have a laugh away from work. You could occasionally give a more honest answer to ‘how are you?’! You might even start to go for lunch with colleagues more often. The benefits are numerous, better working relationships, enjoying your working life more and having the sense that you are not alone with your workplace challenges.
5 ways to wellbeing
So I encourage you to connect now at work – with yourself and others. Over the next year, I will explore the other 5 Ways to Wellbeing with you. With inspiring quotes, stories and tips.
Connect with me
Get connected with my newsletter on. I’m also interested in working with organisations to help improve the health, happiness and productivity of your staff, your teams your organisations. Do drop me a line. Or read more on our ‘Be Well Work Well’ page.