Humanity in the workplace

Ryan Fehr

Ryan Fehr

Even as technology reshapes the way we interact at work, the modern emphasis on team collaboration makes professional relationships more crucial than ever.

And Ryan Fehr thinks it’s high time we started tending to those relationships.

In a recent “Faculty Friday” profile by The Whole U, Fehr, an assistant professor of management at the UW Foster School of Business, advocates for more positive shows of humanity in the office.

“We’re still human beings when we go to work. We still have emotions. We still care about our connections,” he says. “Being appreciated still feels good in the workplace, just like it does everywhere else.”

To support his thesis that pro-social behaviors can make employees happier and more productive, Fehr cites his own recent studies confirming the beneficial effects of gratitude and forgiveness.

For instance, he found that the act of forgiving produces a literal unburdening that makes us perceive slopes as less sleep and able to jump higher. In another paper he confirms that accepting apologies relieves workplace stress.

And in a forthcoming paper on “the Grateful Workplace,” he demonstrates how systemic gratitude can build and reinforce relationships between colleagues.

“If you can make work more human, then the company is going to be better off,” Fehr says.

Read the entire post at The Whole U.