As we work more than 30 hours a week, 8 hours a day, our lives become centered around the people in our work space. Whether you are in an open office plan, or hiding in your own corner office, sometimes being at the office can be a lonely experience.
In a 2014 survey, Globoforce stated that 65% of people want to have memories and stories from their co-workers. 94% said that people stated they liked the feeling of being recognized at work from their peers.
And while there have been many pushes for companies to ensure their teams build relationships, in and outside the office, there are still many that simply want to keep the status quo.
It is important to look at the fact that we spend most of our fully adult life at work. Building relationships with the people you see the most, as many of us only see family and close friends rarely compared to our everyday co-workers, helps build the support system we need to feel happy.
So, why is it important to create meaningful relationships outside the office?
1- We need it
As human beings, we have a psychological need for a sense of social belonging.
This need comes from survival instincts, when staying in groups would help us survive long winters and predators. Now, the sense of belonging continues but it is now needed to keep us motivated and satisfied with our lives.
Even the most introverted person still needs a little bit of a friendly chat.
As mentioned earlier, we see our co-workers more than our closest friends and family. It only makes it natural that we would need to build relationships within our workplace to keep happy and satisfied.
Many studies have shown that relationships at the office have become as detrimental to job satisfaction as is salary and other circumstances.
Happy co-working relationships have been proven to improve so many aspects of a job, including increasing job satisfaction and loyalty.
“While having friends shouldn’t be the main reason why you love your job, it definitely makes the work day run a lot more smoothly when you have a workplace buddy.” – John Rampton, #3 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine.
2- Building an encouraging environment
Co-workers who work well together, work harder together.
Allowing or encouraging friendly bonding between your employees, or between yourself and your co-workers, ensure positive office vibes.
The reason why the team building business has been booming lately is simply due to that understanding. Team-building activities, or even a casual hangout, can bring workers together for a better and stronger work flow and environment.
By building an encouraging, supportive and friendly atmosphere, you are guaranteeing a better workplace.
A better workplace, and feeling happy where you work, provides people will encouragement to work harder and better together.
“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” Simon Sinek, motivational speaker and marketing consultant, author of Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.
3- Easier communications and free-flow of ideas
Getting to know one another also leads to being at ease with your co-worker. Being comfortable enough to have a good laugh outside of work, also means it becomes comfortable to talk more freely at work.
One of the constant challenges that any company or organization has is their flow communication.
The flow of communication has always been a biting and serious issue to all companies, starting or established. One of the main ways to start building a stronger and free-flowing communications routine is through building relationships.
Not only that, but building relationships also produces a more comfortable feeling for many employees, making it easier for them to speak up with ideas and suggestions.
Talking and communicating outside of work helps create a better sense of comfort, as well as being able to talk more freely to one another. Being outside of work when building working relationships help in this matter.
So, get them out of the office for some casual relaxing, and avoid talking about work for a while.
“Team members should definitely hang out outside of work. It makes working together more enjoyable and helps co-workers stay motivated during crunch time. These types of relationships fuel open communication, a good work ethic, flexibility and a better understanding of each person’s roles and expectations. “
—Stephen Ufford, Trulioo.
4- Building ownership
As a CEO, or even a manager, creating a relationship with others in your company can lead to creating a feeling of ownership.
By making them feel like they are part of the company and not just an employee, through casual interactions and hangouts, you can inspire loyalty and motivate through inclusions.
Becoming familiar with managers and co-workers can have positive effects, such as it can encourage closer working relationships, as well as making them feel that they are a part of the company’s work and history.
Building ownership with employees make them more likely to enjoy working on projects that benefit the company. People are also more likely to share responsibility in different parts of the company, including projects that they aren’t assigned in.
Creating this feeling is much easier when outside of the office. Keeping it casual, fun and light can make the building of the relationship easier, as well as affirming that it isn’t simply a business thing.
All because they feel they are a part of history in the making, a part of the company, and not someone that simply works there.
5- Building value and self-worth
Money and perks can only do so much in keeping employees happy, motivated and hardworking.
While these are powerful motivations and incentives to start with, things such as in-job challenges and recognition from peers have been known to create more satisfaction in employees.
Outside office relationships can make them feel that they add value to the team and the company, enough that they would be invited to an outing by the company or CEO/manager.
It also feels as a sort of quiet recognition of their value and efforts, especially more when it is mentioned during the outing. These are some of the things that employees look for when really falling in love with a company.
“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” – Thomas J. Peters, American businessman and speaker.
Remember, there is a thin line between a great working relationship and getting too close.
Yes, there are times in which people meet their best friends, or even their forever partners, but remember that these are the exceptions to the rule.
Office drama from people getting too close, frustrations exploding and anger flaring are all things that will disrupt the delicate office balance you are hoping to build.
As someone who is of a higher level of management, this becomes doubly important. Remember to keep a thin line that keeps them from thinking you are their complete peer.
Sooner or later, you will have to make decisions that will not be enjoyed by others in your office, but it has to be done for the betterment of the company. Getting too close may make it feel more offensive for some of your employees, and may creating some friction within the office.
Create a relationship but stay consistent, you are a confidant but still holds the power on company/project decisions. Inconsistency is what can create the most friction, so always make sure to keep your line clear.
Do you think it is important to create relationships outside and inside of the office? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.