Socializing at work has come a long way from being just making small-talk with your co-workers, to being a very necessary skill to ensure the improvement in the quality of workplace relationships.
Those half-yearly or annual parties organized at your workplace are meant for more than just giving their employees a breather! They’re meant for letting employees socialize with each other outside the rather formal setting of a workplace.
Although the norms of socializing at work have changed considerably in the more recent times, the fact remains that people often find ice-breakers and workplace socializing disadvantageous and sometimes even unnecessary. But the truth is that socializing at work can be quite advantageous.
Why Is Socializing At Work Important?
Socializing at work and friendly relationships between co-workers create a fertile ground for teamwork and prevent mistrust and unhealthy competition among them. A positive atmosphere is better for creativity and productivity as people are reportedly more innovative when they feel appreciated and supported at work— especially if the work culture itself is upbeat and enjoyable.
The key is finding the happy medium where employees are friendly, polite and supportive, but not entangled in each others’ lives.”
–Lynn Taylor, in ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job.’
- The most basic importance of socializing at work is to put the new members in your team at ease. Socializing with the new employee is a great way to acclimate them to their co-workers, duties, office environment, work-team and the various departments at work.
- Socialization can also sometimes lead to co-workers sharing updates on projects that might otherwise be overlooked due to work pressure. Offering pointers during the break often put trainees at ease. Sharing opinions and knowledge with co-workers allows you to shed a light on individual opinions about making certain changes in policies or projects.
- Socializing at work can also encourage team-work among employees. Constantly appreciating company winners, allowing them to show slightly informal gestures such as ‘high-fives’, or maybe just formal handshakes can bolster the morale and team-spirit of their co-workers.
- Strong alliances can be formed through socializing at work. When there is a strong alliance between members of two different departments at work, it is easier to come up with conflict-resolution. Let’s assume there is a strong alliance between employees in production and customer service. In case of a product gone awry, the two employees can avert the crisis with their strong alliance.
Know How To Socialize At Work
Socializing With Seniors
When it comes to socializing with someone who is your senior at work, certain things should be kept in mind. Sometimes, the difference in position at work can create a social obstacle. Appreciating your bosses and paying attention to what they say can go a long way in improving your workplace relationship with them.
Socializing outside of work and work-related events is usually not a very good idea in this particular case. No matter how comfortable you are with seniors at work, it is important to always be respectful while talking to them. Use language that is appropriate for the workplace. Even when you’re not talking about work in general, it is important to leave a good impression.
Socializing With Coworkers
Socializing at work can help to strengthen the quality of workplace relationships, which enables the team to work together better. Co-workers who communicate about topics not related to work often collaborate better on team projects. Socializing can also help your co-workers put more of their opinions out there at work, which is always beneficial.
Informal and relaxed conversations often strengthen bonds between co-workers. According to Kerry Patterson of New York Times Bestseller ‘Influencer’, much of what takes place in companies is done through the informal social network. Conversations at work can lead to trust and often provide opportunities to catch and solve problems before they get out of control.
Socializing With Customers
If your job requires socializing with your customers, it is very important to be able to converse about topics that are related to your work, their purchase, products and services they’re interested in, but also topics that lean towards your customers’ likes and dislikes. Build trust and bond with your customers by getting to know them.
Much like socializing with seniors at work, avoid topics that could be too personal or inappropriate. Let your customer do most of the talking in the beginning. Be polite and get to know what your customers are interested in. This makes socializing a better experience for both you, and your customers.
Points To Keep In Mind While Socializing At Work
Although it is important to build workplace relationships, it is not always appropriate to do so during work. Socializing too frequently can prevent your co-workers from getting their work done, and may leave a bad impression as well. Passing someone in the halls, carpooling, during breaks and helping a customer are the perfect opportunities to socialize at work.
- Be friendly and polite to the person you are socializing with, but do not get overly or inappropriately friendly either.
- Listen to others, pay attention and respond to them appropriately.
- Give sincere and honest compliments to your co-workers and customers. It shows that they matter and that their opinions are important.
- Positive mannerisms such as saying hello, wishing them luck or a good day and smiling are also great ways to socialize at work.
- Never take part in events you aren’t interested in just because it makes a good impression. Genuine interest is very important.
- Respect and be tolerant of employees who have opinions that differ from yours.
Business leaders who foster a more humanistic, team-oriented and supportive workplace where all employees feel welcome and encouraged for putting their thoughts forward are known to be respected and appreciated more by their teams. After all, more work places are adapting themselves to being a tad more informal and flexible for their employees.
Overall, socializing at work is a very advantageous skill. The world we live in is evolving rapidly, becoming a more social space for people with every passing day. We are hard-wired to work with each other for a common goal, and workplace socializing is one of the best ways to achieve that. Therefore, it is very important that socializing at work takes place, even if it happens well within its own boundaries.
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What are some key take-aways for getting comfortable in work social events?
Love this! I work with adults with DD who struggle at work to socialize in a healthy and appropriate manner. This will be helpful as they navigate their way.