Lower work stress by fostering community

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What does community in the workplace even mean? It means a “team where there is high trust, effective communication, equality, respect for differences, caring, support, and high levels of cooperation to achieve a greater purpose” (Medium). Is a sense of community at work really that important? Well, yes! In fact, it’s crucial.

Increasing the sense of community within your team will boost belonging, creativity, collaboration, productivity, and loyalty. What else? A strong sense of community lowers work-related stress for employees. Fostering community within your teams is an easy way to show you care about your employees, about their stress, well-being, and mental health. According to Harvard Business Review, a key factor in lowering employee stress is ensuring they feel a sense of community and connection.

How do you begin to strengthen the community aspect within your team? It starts with the leader, but every employee has the power to impact community in their teams (positively AND negatively). At the most basic level, employees must feel psychologically safe, and empowered to use their voices. Whatever position you are in, you can change things for the better and start strengthening community within your team.

We deal with enough stress in our day-to-day tasks, we don’t need to add in stress caused by lack of community. Lack of community will appear as loneliness, burnout, frustration, and disengagement. Unfortunately, we’ve all felt these things at some point or another. Feeling lonely or disengaged at work can drain a person faster than we realize, the damage showing up in our productivity, health, and well-being. Of those reporting loneliness in a study done by Brigham Young University, 61% reported that it hinders their performance.

To build community within your team, take the initiative by putting strategies in place that will foster high-quality interactions. These high-quality interactions will lead to high-quality relationships, leading to a resilient team. Leadership should encourage activities/behaviors that focus on increasing trust, collaboration, and positivity, while ensuring employees feel valued and respected (Brigham Young University).

You won’t be able to flip a switch and see your team go from good to great, but small steps of intentional actions will get you there with time!

A stronger sense of community = lower work-related stress = higher performance, engagement, loyalty, happiness, & well-being

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