While the office is predominantly a place to conduct business, it should also be viewed as a space where your team can connect. Encouraging your team to socialize holds great value not only for the business, but to each individual as well. Communication fosters relationships, and social interactions that provide a sense of belonging are known to intrinsically motivate human beings. Friendships and social interactions are stress reducers, so having friends at work provides team members with a sense of comfort and belonging. Workplace friendships tend to lead to higher engagement and loyalty of the team. Additionally,according to Mayo Clinic, “Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).”
Make the space.
So how do we encourage our team to socialize? It takes a variety of elements to foster a social environment and get a team to relate on a personal level. Start by creating a social spot inspired by the interests of the team. Encourage camaraderie by designating a specific area of the office as a common space to socialize. A kitchen or break area is ideal for this space. This allows a healthy separation from daily tasks for a chance to reboot.
In addition to birthdays and holidays, consider annual recognition events, employee of the month, promotions, public Slack announcements of accomplishments. It feels good to be working with others who are best in their field and are bringing in wins for your organization. Being truly seen for what you bring to the table is priceless and acts as inspiration for all those involved.
Keep it simple.
An office space can be a reflection of whom it houses. By providing a comfortable ambiance for organic socialization, you can uplift an entire team. At VPG, we like to use the kitchen as our space to socialize over lunch, coffee or a glass of wine to finish out the day. Over the winter, VPG sat down as a team and shared a pot-luck style meal with the rest of our shared office. It was a wonderful way to get to know each other better and bond in a casual way. In this current climate, remember to continue to seek connection so we all can thrive as a community. Even if we have to get creative with having more video conference calls with fun beach backgrounds.
Megan Van Petten
Van Petten Group, INC