December 16, 2015

Well-Being in a Small World: 3 Degrees of Separation

This connectedness has everything to do with well-being which is one of the key factors that contributes to Workplace Vitality™¹ . We’ve studied well-being deeply and despite it often being equated simply with physical health, the concept is actually most useful when we think of it holistically. Based on our research, Mars Drinks defines well-being as health, happiness, and work-life fulfillment. According to our deep-dive research on the topic, we experience well-being when we have the following:
• Physical Health
• Happiness
• Strong ties to community
• Positive feelings about ourselves
• Good relationships
• A sense of control over things that are important to us
• Opportunities to grow and develop
• Overall work-life fulfillment
• Overall satisfaction with life


Of course many of these items are related to each other. For example, when people have more physical health, they also report greater levels of happiness and when people have more opportunities for growth and development, that fact tends to go along with greater overall satisfaction with work and life. The inter-relatedness actually helps reinforce just how important it is to think of well-being in a holistic way.

It is also well-documented that our ties to others are critically important to our well-being². And it goes even farther: Our well-being is also correlated with the well-being of those in our network to 3 degrees of separation. In a Harvard study³ of more than 12,000 people over 30+ years, researchers found that when our friend is happy, our odds of being happy increase by 15%. In addition, if our friend’s friend (two degrees of separation) is happy, our odds of being happy increase by 10%, and if our friend’s friend’s friend (three degrees of separation) is happy, our own odds of happiness increase by 6%. Now that is evidence of a small world.

But what difference does this make in the workplace? Plenty.

When we create workplace cultures where people feel they can bring themselves to work and be their best (read: work-life fulfillment*), we make a difference to the broad network. When we create moments where people can collaborate and feel a sense of connectedness with others, we are contributing to a greater sense of overall well-being.

Of course our business at Mars Drinks surrounds the process of creating these great tasting moments, so naturally, we asked people about how workplace drinks mattered to their Workplace Vitality™. In our survey of over 3,000 people globally, 2 out of 3 said that drinks were important to collaboration, engagement, and productivity. And 8 out of 10 said that drinks were important to their well-being. In addition to the hydration and nutrient value of drinks, we know this sense of well-being has everything to do with connecting, communicating, and collaborating over a cup of coffee (or tea, or espresso, or…).

Our small world is getting smaller and we’re increasingly linked to one another. Well-being turns out to be not just an individual experience, but a collective experience across our networks as well. Given this, let’s grab a cup of coffee!



¹Workplace Vitality™ describes a workplace that is vibrant, thriving, and alive with potential.
²To scratch the surface of this research, check out Well Being: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter (2014).
³Fowler, N.A., & Christakis, N.A. (2008). Dynamic Spread of Happiness in Large Social Networks: Longitudinal Analysis Over 20 Years in the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ, 337, a2338+.
*For more on work-life and the ideas of fulfillment and abundance in the work-life experience, check out Bring Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work by Tracy Brower.

Tags:Workplace Vitality