I have to say that I finished the working week feeling blessed that I work where I do.
Having had some difficult family news to take on board last week, I was feeling a bit emotional on Wednesday morning. The reaction of my colleagues was so warm, compassionate and heartfelt - I was incredibly touched. Their reactions were so genuine, so human: ranging from great bear hugs to kind words; from listening with sympathy to well-timed cups of coffee and chocolate biscuits.
I feel so lucky to be surrounded by a culture of support, empathy and love.
It's funny thought that given how much time we spend in interaction with our colleagues, and the tapestry of emotions that we must naturally experience in our day-to-day work life, "love" is rarely a word associated with where we work.
I'm talking here of course, not of romantic love (though I assume there's plenty of that kind found in some workplaces!), but rather of what Olivia A O’Neill and Sigal Barsade writing in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) call companionate love - that affinity, warmth and kindness that you feel when you are connected to others.
And according to research described in Psychology Today, it is better for the business for that affection between colleagues to exist: those companies with a"stronger culture of companionate love had significantly higher levels of employee satisfaction and teamwork--and lower levels of absenteeism and emotional burnout."
Conversely, psychologist and professor Todd Hall writes:"when there is no love in an organization, people lose a sense of fulfillment in their work, and their productivity suffers. It hurts the well-being of employees and the organization as a whole."
So, not only does such a "loving" culture mean a more pleasant and convivial environment to work in, it makes commercial sense.
I'm incredibly proud that we foster cultural values like "always be helping" built on our ideal that "we are quick to offer help and advice and are alert (as humans) to those we're in contact with every day". Our people embody this approach to each other (it's simply who we are) and to those we provide a service to, and we hire against such principles.
I hope you're lucky enough to feel the same love where you work.
“Love” is a not word you often hear uttered in office hallways or conference rooms. And yet, it has a strong influence on workplace outcomes. The more love co-workers feel at work, the more engaged they are. (Note: Here we’re talking about “companionate love” which is far less intense than romantic love. Companionate love is based on warmth, affection, and connection rather than passion). It may not be surprising that those who perceive greater affection and caring from their colleagues perform better, but few managers focus on building an emotional culture.