Love isn’t a word that you often hear in business conversations, yet studies show it plays a significant role in determining the performance and wellbeing of employees and customers. So it shouldn’t be such a surprise that DreamChange has a Love Summit business conference, which debuted this past Saturday, June 13th.

Research tells us that the more love people feel at work, the more engaged and productive they are. The longitudinal study by Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?: The Influence of a Culture of Companionate Love in the Long-term Care Setting”, exhibits the importance of emotional culture in the workplace.

“Employees who felt they worked in a loving, caring culture reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork. They showed up to work more often. Our research also demonstrated that this type of culture related directly to client outcomes, including improved patient mood, quality of life, satisfaction, and fewer trips to the ER,” states Harvard Business Review in the 2014 article, Employees Who Feel Love Perform Better

If you’re wondering what a loving business looks like, imagine a workplace where employees genuinely care for one another and show it. This can be demonstrated in a variety of circumstances, whether it is a boss who makes sure their employees receive good benefits, the way employees communicate with one another and their customers, or a workplace where every person is made to feel like they really matter.

While the practicality of love as a positive force in business may initially sound taboo, consider successful companies such as Whole Foods Market, PepsiCo and Zappos, all of which have implemented loving philosophies into their business management. “We are more than a team though…we are a family. We watch out for each other, care for each other and go above and beyond for each other”, says Zappos.

It makes sense that Zappos would link family and business since family relationships are generally the most loving, but also because family businesses account for at least 2/3 of enterprises in the world. While we might typically think of family companies as mom and pop businesses, statistics show that they make up a large range of enterprises in all different industries. In fact, many of the largest corporations in the world are family owned.

Imagine what the world would look like if family companies such as WalMart and the Koch Industries exhibited the meant-to-be qualities of family – loving, caring and compassionate – in all of their operations. Evidence shows that creating a culture of companionate love in the workplace leads to happier employees, greater customer satisfaction and higher profits, and that the investment of love in business is a rewarding undertaking. By supporting this venture, corporations like WalMart and the Koch Industries could serve as the very antidote to many of the problems we face today, such as a suffering global economy, climate change and social inequality.

Family businesses aren’t just the backbone of the American economy; they also govern the majority of market economies around the world. Given that families run most businesses and family relationships are supposed to be the most compassionate relationships, the concept of love in the workplace, once again, should not be so surprising. The time has come to embrace love and business – together – as one of the most viable forces for creating thriving enterprises while cultivating a more sustainable, just and peaceful world.