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Social Connections at Work: How to encourage social inclusion for happier teams.

Author: Kirsten Mosey

  At Lunaria, we prioritize and practice moving diversity and inclusion beyond hiring and HR practices through practices like social inclusion. Social inclusion is the process which actively improves participation in the workplace

Workplace Inclusion: The process of improving the participation at work, particularly for people who are disadvantaged, through enhancing opportunities, access to resources, voice and respect for rights.

The concept moves beyond connections to create safe spaces for employees and encourages community while respecting personal differences. 

It can dramatically improve employee happiness and productivity. Connections at work have been proven to increase employee engagement and decrease stress. A study by McKinsy Global Institute shows that productivity improves by 25% in organizations with connected employees.

 One of the most personable ways to practice social inclusion is pretty simple: be inclusive, and social!  As an HR manager is important to encourage employees to ensure those around them are engaged in the workplace socially. 

As your team works from home due to COVID-19, you can still be social and proactively  include team members in your social activities while physically distancing! Here are our tips to get you started:

 Build colleague maps with one another. 

Based on the concept of “love maps” by Drs.John and Julie Gottman, colleague mapping helps to provide a deeper understanding of both the personal and professional life of those around you. In the time of COVID-19, building these maps can be as simple as spending the first few minutes of a Zoom call asking an open-ended question for the whole team to answer. Check out this blog post by the Gottman Institute to learn more. 

Schedule a Zoom call that is not work-related

Try playing an online game (check out apps like Houseparty, or Jackbox Games for virtual game nights), do a team building exercise, or enjoy a virtual cup of coffee together. If your workplace regularly has set routines and social breaks, try making them virtual. For example, instead of the weekly drinks at the pub after work on a Friday evening, do a virtual happy hour with homemade beverages! 

Follow the “caremongering” trend

Created by a community in Toronto, caremongering is the “antithesis in name and spirit to fearmongering,” which encourages people to replace fear with community care and positivity. Caremongering has seen entire communities create Facebook groups focused on advice, tips, donations, and practical help requests during COVID-19. Consider creating a workplace caremongering channel on Slack, or set aside time in a weekly meeting to help those in your organization who may need practical support during this time. 

In an effort to help brands and people flourish, we’re offering the first 3 weeks of our 8-week program for free. The research-backed diversity and inclusion (D&I) program is a step by step guide to help you establish a D&I initiative that drives real returns during isolation and beyond.

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