Your co-workers may be the secret to good health.

According to new research, your workmates may increase your resistance against sickness.

Their lead researcher, Niklas Steffens from the University of Queensland, said, “We are less burnt out and have greater well-being when our team and our organization provide us with a sense of belonging and community — when it gives us a sense of ‘we-ness.’”

The scientists studied 58 research papers including more than 19,000 employees in 15 different countries. They found better health and a lower risk of burnout in companies that had colleagues with strong bonds.

The study followed the social relationships of individuals in the workplace, especially the cliques and social groups at work. These groups play a major role in staying healthy despite the demands of work.

However, the findings aren’t conclusive enough to establish a direct relationship between co-workers and the amount of stress.

Steffens explained, “These results show that both performance and health are enhanced to the extent that workplaces provide people with a sense of ‘we’ and ‘us.’” He added, “Social identification contributes to both psychological and physiological health, but the health benefits are stronger for psychological health.”

The study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, showed that you should create bonds with your co-workers and nurture friendships to maintain excellent health.

Steffens concluded that “the mental health benefits may come from the support provided by the work group, but also the meaning and purpose that people derive from membership in social groups.”

Aimee Harris-Newon, Psy.D., D.A.B.P.S., C.Ht


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