Make time in staff or departmental meetings for personal sharing. Remember that employees are people with emotions, challenges, families, and lives outside of work. Find out more about what makes them tick so you can establish a deeper connection with those you lead and serve alongside. Many studies have been done on the value of having “workplace friends” where relationships go beyond the typical nine to five grind. According to Reuben Yonatan’s research, benefits include: • Increased emotional well-being • Improved job satisfaction • Decreased stress • More effective teams • Increased productivity • A healthier heart!
Did you know that Americans report being happiest on the days they socialize for 6 to 7 hours? Given that most people are at work for at least 8 hours a day, it is no wonder many people forge friendships with those they work with.
Humans need socialization. It’s a basic, innate need. After all, socializing “produces feelings of happiness, reduces stress, anxiety and depression and even improves cognitive function, quality of life and longevity.” However, in the hustle and bustle of today’s hectic “go go go” work environment, the simple act of socializing with our office friends gets overlooked. Some companies even might inadvertently discourage co-workers from becoming friends.
The benefits of having co-workers who share a friendly connection is undeniable. It builds a sense of camaraderie, fosters communication and teamwork, boosts productivity and motivation, increases trust, promotes well-being, increases loyalty, and can even make work seem more meaningful. Plus, it’s always nice to have a friendly face to vent to during a tough day. Who better to blow off some steam to than someone who understands your specific situation?
This week, I challenge you to foster the friendships your team are building or have already built. One way to do so is to encourage sharing among your team (but of course in an appropriate way). During your next team or department meeting, ask everyone to share a little known fact about themselves: what is their favorite band/song?; Their favorite holiday?; Most interesting place they’ve traveled; Top place they’d like to travel? The list can go on. As an added bonus to fostering deeper connections, you’ll also learn some fun and interesting details about those on your team.
FUN FACT: In the entertainment industry, long hours on set can lead to plenty of time for bonding, which can lead to lifelong friendships between cast members. Most people know about “celeb BFF’s” like Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox, but a few less know friendships include Anne Hathaway & Hugh Jackman and Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg! Who knew?!