We Make IT Fun – Jason Wagner
The old saying goes, “Those who play together, stay together.” This old adage holds true at F12 as much as anywhere else. Ongoing social elements at a work are often underappreciated in building strong comradery amongst the team. Without any social aspect, especially in a busy/driven work environment, people only see a few specific facets of a personality – this person is always demanding or that person just doesn’t fit in. There may not be any time in the day to chat and really get to know someone or understand what is going on with their lives, which can unfortunately lead to misconceptions.
Here are some of the benefits to having frequent social events outside the workplace:
- New employees – being a new employee at a company can be difficult, especially when those people around you are already quite busy and might come across as short or dismissive. Having the ability to get to know people in a social environment after work allows for dedicated time to get to know each other in a more relaxed environment.
- Remote employees – being a remote worker or part of a remote branch can sometimes make people feel isolated or out of the loop with the goings on in the head office. This situation can boil down to resentment which leads to poor performance or apathy. Having additional chances to connect with other team members will help combat these negative feelings.
- Cross position – being in different positions in a location can mean that it is difficult to get to know certain people. For example, an entry level employee may have no idea what is going on with a C level employee or vice versa. Is it easier to support and feel good about changes if you have never spoken with the person making them, or if you have spent time hanging out with them and getting to know them?
- Riding out a storm – difficult situations (good or bad) arise in organizations from time to time. If an employee feels that they are part of a team and company vision, they will naturally respond in a more positive way than an employee who feels excluded or isolated. Employees with a more positive reaction will, in turn, work harder to get weather any storm.
- Misunderstandings and conflicts – the investment of time getting to know the people from the workplace in a social fashion is returned by a marked decrease in the number of misunderstandings and conflicts that stem from working with other people in a busy/stressful environment. Getting to better know a person will result in a much smaller chance of taking something the wrong way and much larger chance of working together as a proper team.
Ideas for social interactions:
- Eat together! It’s simple – pick a person and have lunch with them. Could be the lunch room, could be going out to grab a burger, could be a sending out an invite to meet at a restaurant for supper sometime.
- Game together! Host a video game server that other employees can connect to along with voice chat (good for remote locations). Or alternatively – grab a board game and schedule a board game night. Play a mobile phone game and add in other employees to play with (or against).
- Volunteer together! Giving back to the community is always a great thing to be a part of. Set up a volunteer night with a local charity. There is even online team computing time volunteering for charities and other good causes.
- Lend a hand together! Heard that another employee is moving? Get some people together and lend them a hand for a couple hours. Is there someone that needs a ride somewhere in your direction? Give them a ride and save them some time on getting there.
Building work relationships is an important part of building a great team. Encouraging social activities and participation will help speed this process by helping people get to know each other better in a non-threatening environment. Unless it is laser tag or paintball… then it can be very threatening (but in a good way).