By Lauren Kollauf on Monday, April 12, 2021

Why social connectedness is so important at work

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, national health officials were already concerned about an epidemic of loneliness. In the past year, rates of depression, anxiety and suicide have escalated as a result of a wide range of stressors.

RachelIt's clear that focusing on social connection and support is more important than ever – especially for workplaces whose employees are battling overwhelm and burnout due to the immense amount of change in their personal and professional lives since 2020.

"If we've realized anything in the past year, it's that social connection is an essential part of a thriving life and organization," said Rachel Druckenmiller. "Yet, so many of us have struggled with it."

Druckenmiller is a keynote speaker at the 2021 Healthiest State Annual Conference: Keeping Iowa's Workforce Mission Ready, where she'll dive into social connectedness and explain why it is so important to our overall well-being.

REGISTER: 2021 Healthiest State Annual Conference on April 29

She offered a preview of her virtual address – which she promised would include some "fun, entertaining surprises" – ahead of the Annual Conference on April 29:

HSI: Rachel, why is social connectedness so important?

When we don't feel like we belong, our brain shifts into a state that leads us to be more emotionally reactive, unmotivated and anxious. All of us can attest to being on the receiving end of those responses over the past year. Social connection is so powerful because when we feel connected and feel like we belong, we free up our mental capacity to innovate, empathize, be creative, and problem solve. We need more of all of that right now!

HSI: Where do workplaces have room to grow helping create more social connectedness?

As the workforce continues to evolve and adapt in response to our changing times, it's particularly important to be open, curious and creative in the ways we foster connection. Many organizations are not leveraging the full potential of virtual connection and collaboration to bring people together or celebrate, train and develop them.  As we navigate the next normal, it will be especially important to bring representative voices from organizations together to share best practices, create a shared vision for the future, and communicate more effectively. 

HSI: Finally, what can attendees expect to experience during your keynote? 

I'll combine compelling storytelling with evidence-based insights that you can implement immediately around the topic of social connection. We'll also be using some cool virtual tools to leverage all of YOUR collective wisdom and experiences, too. You can expect to walk away feeling energized, inspired and activated to be a change agent!

Druckenmiller's keynote address "I'm Still Standing: Ready, Set, Reconnect!" will be the closing event of the 2021 Healthiest State Annual Conference. You can view a full agenda and register to attend here.


RachelRachel is on a mission to humanize the workplace by igniting resilience, connection and hope in leaders and teams through interactive keynotes, workshops and leadership training. Recognized as the #1 Health Promotion Professional in the U.S. in 2015, a 40 Under 40 Game Changer in 2019, and one of The Daily Record’s Leading Women of 2020, Rachel is a national thought leader in the field of wellbeing and employee engagement.

She has delivered over 150 virtual learning experiences in the past year and has worked with dozens of organizations, including Citizens Bank, Sherwin-Williams, Junior Achievement, and the American Heart Association. Rachel has been featured as a guest on over 50 podcasts. She has a Master’s degree in Health Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.  

Rachel posts inspirational videos and other content on LinkedIn. Follow her there and on her website