By Jon Davis
COVID is not only stealing jobs, taking lives and disrupting cities, like New York. But it’s also killing the water cooler.
Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter have already made us forget how to communicate on a personal level but up until COVID, we still had the water cooler to practice these interactions.
A new study published in the journal, Health Psychology, suggests that talking to coworkers can make you happier at work. The face-to-face interaction fosters a stronger community.
The lead researcher, Dr. Sharon Toker, says this emotional support actually predicts how healthy a person will be later in life.
How Emotional Support Keeps us Healthy Later in Life
Researchers put an actual value on the risk of dying when you are unhappy at work. Dr. Toker said there was a 140 percent increased risk of dying when there is a lack of emotional support compared with supportive co-workers.
Dr. Toker said most of the 53 people who died over the course of the study didn’t have strong relationships with their co-workers.
“We spend most of our waking hours at work, and we don’t have much time to meet our friends during the weekdays,” explains Dr. Toker. “Work should be a place where people can get necessary emotional support.”
How to Create Better Work Environments
Dr. Toker says there are solutions for creating better work environments. One possibility is coffee corners where people socialize and exchange ideas.
It’s like the water cooler reinvented. Call it water cooler 2.0—now with caffeine!
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that after walking to work on the streets again, surrounded by millions of strangers, you could have an emotional support system waiting for you?
So, take a moment and go socially chat with someone on the street. You might not be able to do it at work right now, but chatting it up with a stranger might just save your life.