Job satisfaction is not just about the work you do, it includes many other factors such as the social culture of the company. Work becomes fun when you have a colleague who is not just your coffee break partner but also someone who keeps your spirits high during downfalls. Having a good friend in the office contributes to overall job satisfaction and even makes a toxic workplace bearable. You can vent all your problems and share happy moments with them. Missing them right now?
Office friends help decrease the feeling of loneliness
Often people feel lonely in the workplace that decreases their productivity in the long run but if you have an office bestie, you tend to feel happy and motivated to go to the office/ or join office sessions. According to studies, happy workers are 13% more productive! Even if you are sick, talking to a person who understands your situation promotes healing.
“When you’re satisfied with your work and you enjoy being with your co-workers, it makes you more creative and a better collaborator”
You can easily make friends at the workplace since you get to see them on a regular basis but with the drastic shift to remote working due to the Covid-19 pandemic, social relationships have suffered.
So, the question is how do you maintain good friendships while working from home? Well here's the solution-
^ Keep a check on each other via video calls- Though, we know there is nothing new when it comes to virtual calls but we even miss this bliss while working from home.
^ Speak words of affirmation and appreciation- Just saying “I miss you” or “It was great talking to you” can make your friend feel good and valued. Try doing this often.
^ Visit each other’s place once in a while- Pandemic has forced everyone to stay inside and disappointed people as they are unable to see each other in person. But, as things are getting better, you and your office buddy can visit each other’s place and work together once in a few days. Take proper precautions while doing so (social distancing is very necessary), share fun stuff, have a cup of coffee just like in the old days, and cherish that moment to the fullest. Avoid going out to restaurants or café, for now, home is the safest place to hang around.
Also read: Returning to Work- Best Practices to Follow
^ Try sharing an after-work evening snack or drink- If you live far away, catch up after official hours and have a drink or evening snacks together (virtually). It will lighten up your mood and it will not even feel like an appointment. You may even perform stretching exercises together.
^ If you are a newbie, reach out to as many people as you can- In case, you have just started a new job, be confident, initiate a conversation with existing members and connect with them regularly. Join them on social media; get to know the office culture so that when you join ‘in-person’, there is a sense of belongingness.
^ Speak to your manager & organize virtual interactive meetups- One of the best ways to make sure everyone stays connected is to organize social meetups. Be creative and think of ideas where you and your office colleagues can rejuvenate and have fun for some time, keeping the work part aside. It will help in increasing team effectiveness.
^ Help to lighten their load- If your friends have a kid, the best thing you can do is- set up a virtual meeting with the kids and help them with their school assignments or offer kind of help to your friends that will lighten their load.
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What can leaders do to encourage friendships?
Leaders can play a vital role and help the employees to cultivate and nurture workplaces friendships in the following ways-
^ Encourage employee’s ideas when they contribute to planning meetups, ice-breaking sessions, and help them execute those ideas. Also read: Importance of employer-employee relationship
^ Make necessary resources available to the employees that can help your team members stay more connected
^ Suggest good connections to new members and help them open up to everyone gradually. Ask existing members to drop welcome notes and interact with the new joiners if they feel uncomfortable initiating conversations.
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^ Keep adopting different approaches and techniques like ‘friendship matchmaking” to see which one works the best for your team.
^ Try assigning certain tasks or projects to two people instead of a single person so that they can collaborate and work towards achieving the goal.
Uncertain times like the Covid-19 pandemic have disturbed everyone’s work routine and office relationships. As discussed earlier there are drawbacks if your work buddies start drifting away because no one wants to feel left out.
However, the good part is, with consistent efforts you can build stronger bonds and even spark new ones. In fact, for some people, especially those who have been socially isolated earlier, this time may prove to be a brand new opportunity. Moreover, if you feel awkward while socializing or if you are someone who has trouble opening up to people, consult our emotional therapist on The Wellness Corner for smart ways to build healthy relationships. Therapy can help people come up with comfortable ways of initiating conversations. Giving it a try will not hurt!