Why Office Camaraderie Matters
By Helene Cavalli on July 25, 2013
The health benefits of social interaction are well documented and impressive … a lowered stress level, stronger immune system, enhanced cognitive function and even longer life span. And the business benefits of socializing in the workplace are equally remarkable. When gathered together in group settings, colleagues often improve communication, while fostering connections, creativity, trust, engagement and loyalty. But with the increasing reliance on electronic communication, face-to-face interaction in many offices is dwindling, and is often regarded as a hindrance to productivity.
If you find most of your time in the office is spent working alone with little interaction with coworkers, there are implications that can hurt your career and hurt the organization. If everyone works in a silo, the lack of external perspective can hinder problem solving, reduce the flow of creative ideas and make it difficult to connect one’s role to the bigger organizational picture.
If you find your social skills are a little rusty, here are four tips for jumping back in:
- Don’t be a lone wolf. Break away from eating lunch at your desk and make it a point to attend the occasional after-work happy hour as well as the company picnic, holiday party, awards ceremony or other organization-sponsored events.
- Get up and move. Instead of emailing a coworker located just a few feet from you, get up and visit in person to get the information you need. Serendipitous conversations that develop while walking through an office can be very rewarding.
- Raise your hand. Volunteer for a cross-functional project team, corporate committee or volunteer initiative. If these opportunities are scarce, join the planning committee for a company social event.
- Share an interest. Start or join a workplace walking group, lunchtime book club, recycling team, Toastmasters club, weight-loss meeting, or other interest-based group.
Camaraderie among coworkers matters. These relationships build respect and understanding among employees, resulting in increased levels of job satisfaction, improved performance – and sometimes a little lightheartedness and fun.
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