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Love Is in the Air – at Work?

love is in the air
Is love in the air in your workplace? If it's companionate love, that could be a great thing!

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Does love play a role in productive workplaces? Researchers would say yes. But, before you get the wrong idea, we aren’t talking about romance! We’re talking about companionate love. We don’t often hear much about love in the workplace. But, it is an emotion that can help companies to improve. Specifically, companionate love is the caring and compassionate feelings and behaviors that coworkers can show to one another. This week, we are talking about these cultures at work, and how you might grow them.

What is an Emotion Culture of Companionate Love?

We have probably all heard about culture at work. Culture is made up of norms, values, and beliefs that people hold about your workplace. The culture may also impact how employees think about each other, and the way the work gets done. We often think about culture as the way things happen in organizations. But, they can also be about how things feel at work. An emotion culture is a specific type of culture that encompasses what employees believe, value, and practice when it comes to emotions at work.

Companionate love is all about showing care and compassion toward your coworkers. So in a culture like this, employees would believe that companionate love is a key part of who they are and what they do. They would also value displaying companionate love as a way of achieving important goals. Finally, people would frequently demonstrate care and compassion toward their coworkers. This would then send the signal to new employees, customers, or external stakeholders that being caring is a crucial building block of the company. In other words, in these cultures, love is truly in the air!

It's ok to show companionate love to your coworkers!
Showing love to your coworkers is ok, when it’s companionate love!

Why Should You Grow One?

While it may sound fluffy, researchers have found that a culture of companionate love is related to a lot of great outcomes. For example, companionate love relates to employee attitudes, like lowered withdrawal and greater satisfaction. So, employees who are in environments with more care and compassion tend to show up more frequently to do their jobs and are happier when they do. Companionate love cultures benefit people who are already positively oriented more than others. So, if you have some folks at work who are already pretty happy, they will benefit even more from these cultures.

Interestingly, cultures of love can also have positive impacts on customers. Research has shown that patients in a hospital were happier with their stay in these cultures. They also had fewer health emergencies when they felt they were treated with greater caring and compassion. Also, families of patients said that they were happier with their family members’ experience in a culture of companionate love. They also said they would be more likely to tell others about their experience. So, showing caring and compassion to your coworkers, clients, and customers can really pay off!

Acting with care and compassion can boost positive outcomes.
When everyone in your workplace acts with care and compassion, it can really boost positive outcomes!

How Do you Grow a Culture of Companionate Love?

If you think your workplace needs more love, don’t fear – you can up your love quotient by taking some key steps! First, an emotion culture exists if a lot of people display certain emotions on a frequent basis. So, the best way to grow a culture of companionate love is to encourage folks to show caring and compassion to one another. This means that leaders really need to be on board in role modeling these behaviors. It won’t be a strong culture if the people in charge lack kindness. So, identifying leaders who are already being caring and compassionate and having them champion the culture is a good idea. Also, identifying those who are not caring and compassionate and identifying their roadblocks to improvement may also be key. They might even train with or shadow leaders who are good at demonstrating these emotions!

Second, you should ensure that your processes and systems allow people to have the time and energy to be caring and compassionate. When people are stretched too thin or stressed, it can be hard for them to think about anyone other than themselves. We have talked about easy ways to care for others at work before. But, if you are in a culture of overwork, you may be discouraging employees to take the time to care for one another or their customers. Initiatives to increase companionate love behaviors may “stick” more easily if people are appropriately challenged, but not overworked. So, the next time someone asks you, “what’s love got to do with it?” at work – you’ll be able to tell them that it actually packs quite a punch!

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