Getting Social: Time for an Office Party?
Building a Winning Team at the Office
One of the best ways to increase business communication is to make your coworkers more comfortable around each other: aka build social bonds. There’s nothing like that awkward silence of people that don’t know each other very well, don’t know how to interact, or simply don’t like each other. A good way to overcome that is by instilling a family atmosphere in the office. While families may have their little squabbles (which are bound to happen in the office) for the most part they get along and have open lines of communication.
One of the best ways to build those bonds in your business is via social gatherings or an office party. Don’t believe me? Jack Stack in the Great Game of Business said celebrations and get-togethers were a massive way to get everyone on the same page. But how does an office party or social outing improve teamwork?
Forming Social Bonds
Your employees spend more time with their coworkers then they do their own family. You would want a strong team atmosphere built not solely on being “stuck” together but actually wanting each other to be successful! When your employees actually work with their friends it improves the entire mood of the office, productivity, and mental health. A large social group of friends (like a big network at the office) actually causes our bodies to release more pain-killing endorphins according to research from Oxford University. Obviously, this can cause your employees to be in a better mood and therefore have more positive interactions with coworkers (friends).
Not only that, but increasing social interactions (in and out of the office) is possibly what we were evolved to do and lead to an increase in intellect. Research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that teamwork and cooperation were evolutionary drivers that influenced intelligence. This shows that not only does social interactions and building team bonds make us mentally and physically healthier, it is precisely what we evolved to do – it’s natural. Social outings where the pressures of work are left behind (such as an office party) can help do just that and play right into this.
Office Party: Unwinding
As we discussed in our article about workplace environment, one of the first things you should do to welcome a new employee is for this respective team to take them out for an introductory, non-work related lunch. Another way to build the bonds of a family atmosphere is via social outings, almost like an office party (with or without beverages). From a company picnic to a visit to the local restaurant, these social events can help coworkers get to know one another outside of the office. But what are some informal office party ideas?
This doesn’t have to be your typical beverage laden happy hour. While it certainly can be, invite your employees to a local restaurant after work for an hour or two of conversation. You will get to know so much more about your coworkers and what makes them tick. Even if only 2 or 3 coworkers show it, it is time well spent.
Sometimes the informal office party doesn’t have to leave the parking lot – have a picnic or BBQ! Many owners will balk at the idea of letting everyone take off work a few hours early for a BBQ on premises but it pays it forward in so many different ways. From increasing comradery to decreasing turnover to increasing business communication, this does nothing but help improve innovation and helps the bottom-line! Getting everyone together is a great way to foster new and relationships and that can only help improve communication.
Sports Event/Watch the Big Game
One of the best ways to build a family atmosphere and thus increase business communication is through a little friendly competition. From volleyball to a sponsored softball team of coworkers to horseshoes, these can all help build bonds. Or get everyone together for the big game. Whether you are on the same team or rooting for the same team, it’s still a great way to build common ground and open avenues for communication.
If you want people to feel included and build a winning team then you need to celebrate. From birthdays to work anniversaries, you need to celebrate the small things…no matter how small! That doesn’t mean you have to shell out a ton of cash at each one but just have everybody gather together. The more often you can gather the team together to interact (without conflicting with production) the more chances are for everyone to build that family atmosphere and communicate!
Whether it’s an office party, quick get-together, or a big company picnic, getting everyone together helps to serve on massive purpose: it increases the social fabric of your company which increases business communication. Look, no one is going to be frank with someone they don’t know or trust but when everyone is familiar with one another and on the same playing field, this transparency can save your company time and money! If it’s good enough for Jack Stack and SRC, it’s good enough for us!