Why socialising at work is important – and how to encourage it
Many of us look forward to work drinks on a Friday night – a chance to chat with our colleagues about the week gone by – but unfortunately, work can be a lonely place for many employees. It’s about more than just ‘getting along’. Many people forget the importance of social health in the workplace and how it can affect overall employee wellbeing.
If you work a typical 40-hour week, chances are you spend more time with colleagues than you do your family, so it makes sense to ensure these relationships are healthy. Relationships with co-workers are one of the top drivers of employee engagement, with other proven benefits such as a happier, less stressed and more productive workforce. Being friends with colleagues is essential to cultivate teamwork and collaboration as well as reduce risks of health problems such as depression and high blood pressure. For employers, happy and healthy staff will perform better, take fewer sick days and bring more energy to work.
Forming relationships can seem daunting for employees – no-one wants to overstep boundaries. It’s important for employers to promote a workplace culture that encourages social interaction. Here are our tips.
In a business with different departments or an unusual office layout it’s difficult for staff to socialise when they don’t have the opportunity to speak regularly. Introduce a virtual hangout or instant messenger – like Slack, so employees can collaborate with their peers, get advice on a project or catch up on their breaks. Introducing a cloud workspace like Microsoft Teams includes the function to have conversations around documents. The more you encourage collaboration, the greater the opportunity for social connection.
As a growing number of people work remotely or from home, it can be a struggle for them to feel connected and part of the office. Video calling through platforms like Skype or Teams allow remote workers to be involved in office life far more effectively than email or voice calling can. Regularly involve remote workers in staff meetings, celebrations or projects so they can communicate and get to know their colleagues.
Team building exercises are a great way to bring colleagues together. When implemented properly, team building activities can bring unity and comradery among employees. You don’t even have to venture outside the office – take a break and do an office quiz once a week or start a book club. Or split into teams and tackle an escape room – this is a fun way to unwind and build connections while learning something about how well you communicate and work as a team.
Celebrate more often
Make an excuse to gather everyone together more often by finding new things to celebrate. Enjoy a slice of cake on birthdays, celebrate project wins or mark a team member’s significant work anniversary. Recognise hard work with employee appreciation days once a month or quarter or take your team out for a nice lunch to thank them for their hard work – it’s easy for everyone to bond over a plate of food!
Create a collaboration space
How easy is it for people to work together? Consider re-arranging your office space to allow for collaboration. Make sure that conference rooms are equipped with the latest remote conferencing tools and have comfortable chairs around a screen in case of a need for an impromptu meeting. This also gives employees somewhere to sit if they want to relax and de-stress or work in small groups away from the distractions at their desks.
Encourage a positive culture
Creating a positive environment will help employees feel more comfortable around one another and encourage social connections – quality work relationships help build a strong company culture that emphasises respect, loyalty and trust.
Part of safeguarding employee wellness is encouraging staff to socialise. You may have heard people say, “I’m here to work, not to make friends”, but it’s important for employers to understand just how important social interactions in the workplace really are. Shared information platforms such as a company intranet site can help achieve this and keep everyone up to date with the news.
At Aura Technology, we can assist your business with the implementation of a variety of cloud and connectivity solutions for faster, more efficient interactions with your staff and increased mobility. For more information please contact us.