Social Interaction and Stress Reduction in the Workplace
The literature on workplace wellness suggests that social interaction is helpful for wellness participation. Information dissemination and awareness building is a common theme of success in the literature. Effective wellness programs also allow input from employees, or two-way communication when developing clear goals and objectives. (Goetzel et al., 2014)
Accessibility to bike paths, footpaths, health clubs, and swimming pools have been have been found to be associated with increased physical activity, but may be insufficient on their own. (Humpel, Owen, & Leslie, 2002) In successful wellness programs, health professionals focused on previous habits that worked for employees’ schedules in developing a physical activity wellness program (King, 1998). This demonstrates that a high- touch and intensive communication practice can increase the likelihood of success.
Further, a ‘social marketing strategy’ that includes community- based surveys, feasibility studies, and focus groups can help to optimize the type, format, location, and date of the program is effective to encourage participation. (King, 1998) Social programs that encourage companionship and esteem support can be an effective strategy for increasing physical activity in a population. (Cavallo et al., 2012)
In stress management, social interaction was very helpful to participants who were part of a mediation support group. Participants in a workplace study on online support and stress management found that “The percentage of participants who reported practicing meditation at least once per week was greater among those with group support than without group support; 94% versus 54%.” (Allexandre et al., 2016)
Employees also benefit by being included in meetings discussing the decision-making process for issues that impact job stress.
The literature also discusses a three-year, intensive wellness program that helped employees implement lasting habit changes in their lives. This intensive case management example studied employees who enrolled in a “three year program where they had an initial visit and then follow-up appointments every 4-8 weeks for a minimum of eight one-on-one visits in the first year and six visits in the subsequent years.” (John et al., 2006) Through education about healthy lifestyles, diet, and exercise, and routine measurements of the biomarkers mentioned above, employees experienced “improved blood pressure and reduced LDL levels.” (John et al., 2006)
From: Growing a Healthy Workforce: Leading in The Eight Dimensions of Organizational Wellness