More and more companies today are realizing that nurturing friendships in the office is an important and beneficial practice, both for employees and the company as a whole. A recent study by Gallup found that employees who had a close friend at work had a 50% increase in job satisfaction and were seven times more likely to be fully engaged in their work. In an effort to facilitate this increase in productivity, employers use video recruitment platforms like RIVS to find candidates that possess not only the right qualifications for a job, but also a personality that will mesh well with company culture.
However, even after all this careful cultural compatibility screening, making friends at work can still prove difficult. You’re at work, after all, and that means your work comes first. You’ll probably have the occasional conversation with your co-workers, or crack the occasional joke at the expense of your faulty coffee machine, but rarely do these interactions have enough of a personal impact to forge a friendship alone. What then is the best way to cultivate authentic office friendships without sacrificing work-time and productivity to do so?
Two words: happy hour. Arranging a Friday afternoon where the office cuts out a half-hour early to enjoy an outing together is a great way to build a sense of camaraderie amongst your team. The change in location and atmosphere will make interactions more casual, and will allow co-workers to break into more personal topics of conversation. This in turn can build trust, reveal common interests, and even form more genuine friendships between employees.
If drinks aren’t your forte, there are a multitude of alternative after-work activities that can bring your workforce closer together. Events like company lunches for birthdays and other special occasions, forming a sports team, and even volunteering for a local charity are all effective ways to bond with the people you see sitting across from you five days a week.
The end result is ideally a perfect balance between professional and personal. A more open, trusting work environment where all the feelings of teamwork and enthusiasm from outside the office are carried over into the work handled by a now more cohesive workforce, leading to happier employees, happier managers, and much better jokes than those about broken coffee machines.
Image used under Creative Commons by greg westfall.