by Liesbeth Vanhelmont -Obelisk

A very nice piece of advice from Finnish President Niinistö. Because even though we are in “quarantine” or “’ockdown” and we have less physical contact with others… connection with each other remains a necessity.

When we feel work-related pressure and stress, we sometimes tend to work very task-oriented. During meetings, we quickly move on to the order of the day in order to be as efficient as possible and not to lose any precious time. However, scientific research shows that investing in connection is not a waste of time.

Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, has developed a model called PERMA. This model helps to understand happiness and well-being. PERMA is the acronym for the five most important building blocks of happiness and well-being: Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationship, Meaning and Achievement.

So one of the most important building blocks are relationships with others. Happiness is connected one on one with pleasant, meaningful and good interpersonal relationships. The better these relationships are, the more positive emotions you get. So it is in your best interest to invest in connectedness with others (family, friends, colleagues). This connection has a positive effect on your feeling of happiness and your current investment ensures that your relationships will improve in the longer term and thus also your feeling of happiness.

An organisation can also reap the rewards of focusing on connectedness.

The Self-determination Theory (SDT) states that, in addition to their physical needs, people also have three essential psychological basic needs: the need for Autonomy, Involvement and Competence.

The SDT’s need for involvement is about relationships with others at work: experiencing a great atmosphere at work, feeling that your colleagues and managers care about you, and vice versa, and that you also consider your colleagues and managers important.

As with the PERMA model, the importance of interconnection returns.

Besides having the feeling of freedom in your job and doing what you do best, mutual involvement is needed to be motivated, to feel good about yourself and to perform well.

I hear great digital initiatives pop up from all sides to keep in touch: virtual happy hour, the homework video call bingo game, coffee corner on Zoom, on the organisation’s Facebook page sharing photos with each other about how everyone does it to work from home…. which are all

useful initiatives.

I would like to add one more: if you have a digital meeting, do a round of ‘contacting’ before going to the agendaof the day. Let everyone say how they are doing.

Stay healthy!