Why Social Connection Is Essential To Health, And How It Can Boost Resident and Employee Engagement
During this transformative year, people have become more acquainted with isolation and distance from people than ever, requiring an entirely new approach at social events. Social activities have always been a great way for property managers and company managers to unite residents and employees in the workplace and foster a sense of community. Through connections and bonds formed at social gatherings, residents and tenants are able to form positive associations with their environments, and love where they live and work.
But since the pandemic has uprooted the way we wall gather, innovative ways to connect are detrimental to creating that same sense of connection and community that are so important, not just for managers of businesses and properties, but the overall health and well-being of people. But how do we know any of this matters in the first place?
The Science Behind The Need for Social Connection
Countless studies and journals have proven the significance that social connection has in our lives. In a review of over 300,000 participants across 148 different studies, participants with stronger social relationships were shown to have a 50% greater survival rate and disease recovery to various ailments than those that were not as receptive to social engagement. The study took in account a variety of ages, conditions, demographics, initial health statuses and causes of death. These findings were also shared with resources supporting a decreased rate in suicide and less likelihood of mental health obstacles, such as anxiety and depression.
Another finding sites that lack of social engagement can be even more harmful to your overall health than obesity, high blood pressure and even smoking. Experiments conducted on both humans an animals show a linked risk of social isolation to a variety of illnesses and mortality causes. With loneliness, research has linked health consequences ranging from impaired decision making and cardiovascular function, to poor sleep quality, dementia and heart disease.
Stanford Medical Journal published findings as well that in addition to longevity and risks associated with isolation, genes impacted by loneliness are also responsible for coding of immune function and inflammation – one of the leading underrated and hidden causes of many other illnesses. The Stanford Medical Journal also notes that people with greater social interaction have higher levels of self-esteem and empathy, and are more likely to express cooperation and build trust as opposed to their less socially connected counterparts.
Keeping a Social Connection While Social Distancing
With so much time spent in isolation at home and with social distancing, maintaining our relationships and connecting with people is more challenging, but with creative alternatives we can find ways around the barriers. Particularly for young kids who are missing social experiences that would normally be happening in the school setting, making sure that they keep in touch with peers via FaceTime, virtual activities, playing online games under supervision, and chatting online with family is imperative.
The same is true for adults. With so many elderly facing the greatest degrees of isolation, making sure to help wherever you can through things like grocery drop offs, virtual events, scheduled chats, and any type of interaction that can be cultivated is essential for their livelihood.
Virtual events are a great way to keep communities, families and kids connected and introduce something fresh into a weekly routine. Activities including virtual book clubs, team trivia, mixology nights, virtually hosted mock-tail hours, virtual pup-party gatherings, talent shows and bingo are just a few virtual event ideas that can spark engagement and keep everyone connected at a time when we need it the most.
If you’re worried about your risk of being an introvert, there’s still a silver lining. Even in isolation, science has shown that social connection from a distance can still boost your health, supporting the fact that even with our current constraints, virtual connection can still provide the same benefit to us all. Data has demonstrated that it’s not even the number of friends you have, but the level of connection you share with one or more individuals that releases the feel-good chemicals in your brain and create a heightened state of well-being.
Incorporating Virtual Social Activities Into Your Tenant and Resident Engagement Plans
An easily deployable solution to creating connection and promoting connectivity in today’s environment is the option of virtual events. Virtual events allow people to connect safely from the comfort of their living spaces or anywhere they choose and even change the typical social gathering where people naturally segment themselves to one that is more mutual, inclusive and open. Managers of all types who have invested the energy into providing opportunities for people to connect have made their residents, tenants and employees feel more valued and created a greater sense of loyalty with the environment in which they are trying to promote and retain.
By creating a welcoming atmosphere, even when virtual, people can still have a chance to enjoy meet and greets with neighbors, enjoy the feeling of a social atmosphere while many others traditional spots remain closed, and allow celebrations to still carry on. In the workplace especially, social events have been shown to improve teamwork, foster wellness, promote better working relationships, reduce stress and increase more efficient output to the organization overall.
As our mission, TFLiving strives to provide affordable amenity experiences through technology while connecting people safely to do what they love. Virtual amenities are one of several ways we keep our communities engaged and connected. Visit our Property Manager page for testimonials from communities we have helped during this time with virtual program alternatives, or head to our contact page to start your custom quote for virtual amenities at your community or workplace!