After a recent workshop, I announced that I would be around for a few minutes for any additional questions or feedback. As I walked off the stage, I was greeted by a gentleman who got right to his point.

“I don’t have any questions, but I can’t follow through with one of your suggestions.”

I was puzzled by his comment because I probably make over a hundred different suggestions during my live events. So, I looked intently at him and asked, “Well, what do you mean?”

He was quick to interject, “You know how you said we need to start looking at our social network and find ways to take our work friendships outside of the office,” pausing briefly before he continued on, “Well, I can’t do that.”

I thought I had heard it all, but this one was a bit of a surprise. I had no idea why he wouldn’t be able to hang out with his work buddies somewhere other than on the job. As I was pondering his situation, he filled in the missing details.

“I’ve been in IT all of my life and the last several years, everyone began working remotely. There are 10 people on my team, but I never see most of them. Even when I go into the office once a week, I have very little interaction with them…and as a group, we might all get into the same room two to three times a year.”

He put an exclamation point on the conversation by saying, “So, I don’t really have any friends at work.”

I didn’t know what to say. I was stumped because I had just pontificated on the fact that an individual’s social network can be one of the most important aspects of making a successful transition from work like to home life.

In fact, at the core of this research is the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which tracked the lives of over 700 men for some 75 years. The study concludes that people who are more socially connected to family, friends and their community are happier, physically healthier and they live longer than people who are less well connected.

In my presentations, I also note that researchers found that strong relationships play a role in protecting brain function. Participants who reported feeling “securely attached,” meaning they could count on another person in times of need, had their memories stay sharper for longer, while those in an insecure situation, experienced earlier memory decline.

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