Social Wellness Month
At IEA, we work towards a common goal of thriving in and out of our office.
In today’s overloaded work culture, maintaining social wellness is a crucial aspect of a person’s overall well-being.
Approximately 20 percent of Americans feel lonely in their free time and many of us spend more time at work than we do at home. This is especially true in the current climate of the AEC Industry in Texas where clients are concerned with potential staffing shortages. (Source: https://rb.gy/auk9S)
“Work relationships do have a big impact on our social wellness as we are around coworkers for 8 or more hours of the day,” said Eli Saldana, an engineering intern at IEA’s Houston office.
Investing in work relationships allows employees to find not only work-related support, but personal support. This can lessen the burden of loneliness and give a much-needed sense of companionship during off-hours.
“I would rather work in-office as coworkers can physically help and I am able to foster relationships face-to-face,” said Saldana.
Being face-to-face emphasizes a positive work environment and an opportunity to make social connections. These relationships improve the physical and mental well-being of a person, and contribute to IEA’s culture of Positive Partnership.
A couple of keyways that IEA fosters positive social connections between our staff include in-office mentors taking time out of their day to discuss work assignments and personal goals/needs with their team, and of course, getting to know each other through in-office lunches and other activities put together by our office fun committees. By recognizing opportunities for connections and prioritizing these meaningful interactions, we can break down the barrier between work and maintain our social wellness.
Simple Ways to Boost Social Wellness
- Connect with a family member or co-worker through conversation
- Leverage a work-from-home day
- Enjoy lunch with a family member or co-worker
- Volunteer in your community
- Join a club or organization
- Practice self-care (This looks different for different people, for example: going out to watch a movie or staying home to read a book)
“It is important to foster better connections to ultimately be happy and not have any other stressing factors that can easily be avoided,” said Saldana.
Many of us forget, not working on your social wellness can become a stress factor both at home and in the workplace. Having a simple break to talk to a coworker about their weekend can be highly beneficial as it gives comfort and the ability to cope during times of stress.
“I’m still at IEA because of the strong social connections I have made,” said Jennifer Nelson-Smith, IEA’s Director of Marketing. “Our industry has ups and downs in workflow, long hours at crunch time. These people I’m around support me, build me up, and make me remember to take care of myself.”
IEA’s work-from-home policy gives employees time to dedicate to their job as well as their families by preparing healthy dinners, riding a bike over lunch, and even getting chores like laundry done during breaks. This policy helps IEA promote healthy lifestyle behaviors, enhances self-care, and allows you to take a breather during work hours.
“I try to have dedicated family time every day after work and try to do something fun during the weekend to destress,” said Haoran Mu, a Project Manager.
Like Mu, many employees realize a work-life balance is key to having proper social wellness. IEA’s work-from-home policy and flexible work schedule gives many of our employees time to tend to their outside responsibilities, which for Mu is to spend time with family.
“A relationship that is very important to me is the one with my girlfriend because day in and day out she supports me and motivates me to try my hardest every day to become successful,” said John Sola, an engineering intern at the Houston office.
It can be troublesome when there is not enough being done outside of work, but sometimes all it takes is a significant relationship with a person to help minimize negative feelings or behavior. These relationships can help you destress, maintain healthy life habits, and aid your overall mental health.
At IEA, we try our best to boost social wellness by encouraging employees to have positive relationships in and out of the office. Maintaining a focus on social wellness leads to a more encouraging workplace where we experience the benefits of social wellness and build genuine connections to foster healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships.