By Sam Ancer
As the world adjusts to the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more offices are returning to some degree of in-person operations. We have already provided a useful guide on how best to manage that process, but it’s also important to talk about one key benefit of in-person work. That is workplace socialisation. While this may seem like a minor concern for any office, building relationships and rapport within teams is critical to workplace success. Humans are social animals and socialisation is a key need that is often overlooked in the workplace. So join us while we discuss the significant benefits of socialisation in the workplace and what you can do to foster a more social work environment.
While it seems silly, workplace happiness is closely tied to job satisfaction and performance. Having a happy workforce means they are more passionate about the work, able to work harder and faster, and avoids a number of the issues associated with an unhappy workforce, like unnecessary conflict and low productivity. Having an engaging, vibrant workplace is a great way to boost workplace morale, and by extension both productivity and efficiency. A happy workforce is a productive and hard working one.
There is a fairly straightforward connection to be made between workplace socialisation and improved communication. The more comfortable people feel around each other, the easier it is for them to communicate. This means fewer miscommunications, more understanding and engagement across departments, better performance both internally and externally. The more comfortable and relaxed employees feel with one another, the better they can work together. It also lends flexibility as people learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how best to compliment both.
One important way socialisation helps the workplace is by instilling company values. At AES Global we value work/life balance and our social engagements reinforce that balance. Be it through making sure that people leave their work at work, or by maintaining an appropriate office environment, the culture of balance within AES Global is reinforced through everyday social interactions. There are few ways that are as effective at reinforcing the values of your organisation as socialisation, as we are often compelled to fall in line to the expectations of the people we interact with regularly.
While many places claim to operate as a family, the only real way you can instil this attitude is with regular contact and engagement. Being able to recognise each other as people through socialisation is an invaluable asset for any organisation. There are moments in any team or company where an individual may struggle, and being able and willing to support one another during this time is a critical benefit to the success of any team or organisation. A sense of community and belonging is critical to our mental health. The ability to lend each other support is strongly reinforced through socialisation.
Tips to improve your office socialisation.
While it can seem like a daunting prospect to try and promote work socialisation, there are a number of ways that you can easily and efficiently make your workspace a more social place.
Make a space to socialise.
It’s unlikely that much workplace socialisation will happen if your office does not have a space for people to socialise comfortably. This can take the form of a room or even just a section of seating. Give your employees a reason to use the space as well, make it comfortable or give them something to do. This way people are able to relax, talk about their day, and engage in a way they otherwise wouldn’t have. Here at AES we have an amazing break space which has more than enough room for the whole team, comfortable bean bag chairs, and the offices Playstation 5.
Out of office activities.
Sometimes the best way to get the team together is to take them out of the office environment. Creating memories people can associate with outside of work can often be the best way to get people to feel comfortable around one another. Try going on fun activities once in a while, things like escape rooms or paintball are a great way to build team rapport. You don’t even have to leave the office to do this, you could have a games day where the team plays board games or you could have an in-office picnic. Make sure you consult with your team what kind of activity they would like to do, it defeats the purpose of the exercise if they feel forced or roped into something just for the sake of team building. AES Global likes to go for a monthly outing as a reward for the team meeting their targets for the month.
An office whatsapp group where communication can be less formal and people can share things they find online. This needs to be carefully moderated however, as we don’t want anything that would make people feel uncomfortable or breed resentment among teams. However, if managed well organisations can really benefit from the relaxed sense of accessibility this provides people. Just make sure that it does not get bogged down by too much work discussions, otherwise it just becomes another work slack channel, which isn’t what is needed.
Why Workplace Socialisation Matters
Making a more comfortable, accessible and happy workplace gets the most out of your employees and can help you solve underlying issues that you were not aware you had. From communication, support and collaboration, your team works best if everyone is operating from a place of comfort and familiarity. These processes can experience growing pain so careful time and consideration is an important factor, but you stand a lot to gain from having appropriate workplace socialisation measures in place.