2015 Wellbeing February Belonging

Connecting with Others

A meaningful life means feeling connected to other people. Social connections at work are sustaining, and feeling useful to others is a powerful way to generate positive emotions.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow positioned belonging at the third level of his famous hierarchy of universal human needs, preempted only by basic physiological needs (food, water, sleep, etc.) and safety/security needs. Numerous studies and experiments have led to the belief that humans are genetically wired to need one another, and Gallup data provides empirical evidence that having close friends and positive interactions at work significantly increases engagement with the organization.

Relationships anchor people’s commitment to an organization, its brand and its purpose. Without meaningful connections to people, organizations can seem anonymous. Because of this, mobility, alternative work strategies and telepresence across geographies must be intentionally crafted so that employees don’t lose their sense of belonging.

“Mobility can be positive because you’re giving people flexibility, and videoconferencing is fast becoming a fact of everyday work, especially for global teams. But it’s important to ensure that people have meaningful connections to others and understand that, wherever they are, they are valued in the organization. Employees need to know they are integral participants in something larger than themselves and others in the organization care about them, ” says Arantes.


Cultivating belonging in the workplace

“As work becomes increasingly mobile and global, creating a sense of belonging is a bigger challenge than ever, but certainly not less important,” says Arantes. “Leading organizations make sure their workplaces provide reasons for people to choose to work there by making it easy to collaborate with co-workers and connect to technologies. They put effort into creating an equal sense of community and belonging for mobile and distributed employees, as well as those physically present.”

Design Considerations:

  1. Create entrances that are welcoming with visible hosting for people who don’t work there routinely.
  2. Provide ample and well-equipped spaces for mobile and resident workers to work individually or in teams.
  3. Offer videoconferencing configurations that allow remote participants to see content in the room and on the walls, and to hear everyone equally.
  4. Design informal areas for socialization, in person as well as virtually

February is North American Inclusion Month (NAIM). Created by the Yachad/National Jewish Council for Disabilities. Now some five years old, the North American Inclusion Month was established as a way of recognizing the need for more opportunities for people with disabilities, including in both employment and education. February 2nd, 2010 saw a U.S. House of Representatives resolution, which acknowledged the goals of NAIM.

NAIM is an opportunity for society to be more inclusive regarding people with disabilities. Regardless of an individual’s disabilities the North American Inclusion Month aims to make them feel every bit a part of society as an able-bodied person. The month is not in place to create a better understanding of a disabled person’s needs and aspirations for just four weeks. The North American Inclusion Month is used as a way of galvanizing a more positive approach, concerning people with disabilities, for the whole year.

Making society more inclusive for people with disabilities can begin with simple individual actions during NAIM. Going out of one’s way to interact more with people with disabilities is one example. Often people will not interact with people with disabilities because they are nervous about saying or doing the right thing. However, not feeling part of society is what will often hurt a disabled person most of all.

From children to adults, people with disabilities can feel part of things throughout North American Inclusion Month. Sport should also be inclusive, and this can be achieved by adapting aspects of that sport where necessary. Children at school, who are affected by hearing or sight problems, can be helped by aids, which will make them able to enjoy a lesson just as much as their classmates. For elderly people with disabilities a nostalgia night, which includes a sing-along, can help bring back happy memories.

February 7th is Send A Card To A Friend Day

Everyone loves and appreciates their friends, and we all just assume that they know how much we care and that we are always thinking about them. Sadly, many of our friends will experience loneliness and feel under appreciated from time to time. That’s just how life goes. That’s why Send a Card to a Friend Day exists, and why year after year it is so popular!

A small gesture that we may not think make any difference could actually make our friends’ day. All it takes is a cute little card with a nice personal message in it to put a smile on their face. This could be an e-card that you send to them online, a store bought card, or better yet, a home made one that oozes thoughtfulness, ideal for your extra special besties. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on celebrating your friendships on this special day!

App: National Geographic National Parks Guides

Book: National Geographic Friends Forever

Aromatherapy essential oil: Mandarin

Derived from petite evergreen trees with aromatic flowers and citrus fruit. Mandarin is native to Southern China and the Far East.

Botanical Name: Citrus reticulata
Aromatic Aroma: Mandarin has a powerfully sweet floral aroma.
Consistency: Thin
Note: Top
Aroma Strength: Light
Extraction Method: Cold Pressed
Plant Part: Fruit Peel
Origin: Italy
Color: Orange-yellow to a dark orange

Common Uses: Mandarin Essential Oil is often used as a digestive aid, for use against hiccups, anxiety, and to assist the liver functions of the elderly. Mandarin Essential Oil is also commonly used in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes and men colognes.  Mandarin Essential Oil is a favorite of children and parents. Of all the citrus oils, Mandarin Oil is the sweetest and tends to be the most calming (creates a sense of joy and peace). If desiring to use a citrus oil in the evenings before bed or with children, Mandarin Essential Oil is usually the best choice.  At the same time, it promotes a finer textured skin, fighting infections and removing any congestion from the skin. The cytophylactic properties of the oil encourage the growth of new skin cells, which is a boon when you wish to replace previously damaged skin with new healthy cells, as is the case when treating stretch marks, as well as acne scarring and damage to the skin.

Blends Well With: Lime, Orange, Lemon, and Grapefruit, as well as spice oils such as Nutmeg, Bay and Clove.

History: The Mandarins gifted the citrus fruit to the Chinese and was brought to Europe in 1800s.

Safety: Mandarin is phototoxic and direct sunlight should be avoided after applying the oil. Avoid use during pregnancy.

Steelcase Statistic: 300% greater likelihood that engaged employees are thriving overall.