Think about these findings reported in Susan Pinker’s book, The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier:
- Smaller groups that communicated face-to-face were more cohesive. There was more trust within the group, which made it easier for people to ask questions and seek help when they needed it. As a result, those groups were more productive.
- Want to be happier and more productive? Take your breaks at the same time as your friends at work do. This boosted performance, increased smiling and made the company that participated in the study an extra $15 million.
- When people connect— and especially when they touch each other— oxytocin is released, which damps down their stress and enables them to trust each other… A simple handshake, a pat, a fist-bump, a friendly nudge, or a high five does the trick. All evidence points to social contact lowering stress among colleagues and making a team more cohesive
What are some simple ways to build these productivity-boosting social interactions into your work place? Consider:
- If you’re tempted to drop a quick email message, don’t do it. Even if its efficiency is sorely tempting. Instead, get out of your work space and walk across the office. Smile and speak to the people you see. Shake hands with colleagues who’re available. Deliver that message or ask that question in person.
- When you’re planning a meeting, don’t gloss over the opportunity for participants to interact. Build time for conversation, connecting and hand shaking into the agenda.
- Missing colleagues who work remotely? Build some trust by connecting with them through a video chat.
- Had your nose to the proverbial grind stone completing a project? Reward yourself by taking a break with colleagues. Encourage others to regularly do the same.
Think about the productivity impact as well as the social value in these personal connections. Think about the long-term trust you’re building in such simple ways. Could there be better, more rewarding or less expensive ways to increase productivity and trust?