Sometimes, workplace social events feel like a chore. Management may not want to “waste” time sponsoring fun during the workday, and not all employees are thrilled about spending their free time on the weekend at the company picnic. However, that social time among staff can boost productivity and increase morale and quality of life at work. Here is why you should encourage social events at your workplace.
(Photo Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr)
Productivity is not simply a measure of how much time is spent working at the office. It is a more delicate measure of workplace efficiency and what actually gets done. Research has consistently demonstrated that we are more effective at our jobs when we feel attached to the people around us. When we feel connected to our colleagues, it improves our workplace experience, which in turn increases our productivity.
On the other hand, it is also true that workplace friendships are not the same as personal friendships, although some workplace friends do become real friends.
The point is that employees who are comfortable with their colleagues are happier, and this affects the bottom line. Employees who enjoy being around their co-workers are more likely to stay, reducing costly turnover and the effort that goes into training new employees. They trust each other more, and this trust makes collaboration come naturally.
How Managers Can Encourage Office Friendship
Building authentic friendships requires familiarity, which you automatically have if you are around somebody a lot. It also requires similarity, finding common ground, and some degree of self-disclosure.
Forcing colleagues to participate in team-building exercises does not always encourage this type of relaxed, authentic friendship. However, hanging out over a casual lunch, or watching a sporting event together, may do just that. One key element of building authentic office relationships is the sense that participation is voluntary. For example, having a spread in the breakroom on the first Friday of every month and letting employees drop in and hang out at their own discretion may encourage the development of valuable friendly interchanges.
It is good business sense and wise use of resources to have company-sponsored, voluntary social events, both in and out of office hours, and more than just that once-per-year company picnic.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you socialize with your colleagues? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.