A 2011 survey by recruiting firm The Creative Group found that employees who socialized with their colleagues outside of work enjoyed more productive professional relationships. Beth Braccio Herring from CareerBuilder.com includes networking, fostering team work, establishing a reputation and gathering knowledge about the company among the key reasons why socializing with colleagues is important to career success. There are plenty of activities to do with co-workers outside of work.
A Departure from the Norm
After work drinks and business lunches are what usually comes to mind when thinking about socializing with co-workers. Some different ways of sharing a meal or drinks with colleagues are going to high tea, hosting a murder mystery dinner, enjoying a cheese and wine tasting or participating in a group cooking class together. When organizing such events, try to be as inclusive as possible by keeping in mind that some employees have kids or religious beliefs that do not permit them to drink alcohol or eat certain foods.
Fun Physical Activities
Hands-on activities are a great way for colleagues to have fun while nurturing a team bond which will have positive effects back in the workplace. Corporate health club memberships and having an office team in an organized sport such as softball are popular ways that many companies promote fitness and group participation. For something different, particularly for younger or more adventurous crews, try organizing an office scavenger hunt, go indoor skydiving or rock-climbing, paintball or laser squirmish. However, activity organizers should be considerate to make sure that older colleagues and those with physical disabilities are not left out.
Employers are becoming increasingly aware of their social responsibility to promote a work-life balance for their employees, which includes ensuring that workers are able to spend quality time with their families. Co-workers can enjoy time outside work together while including their families by having a picnic and ensuring that there are activities to keep children entertained such as a jumpy castle and games. Colleagues can also choose to get together outside of work for family friendly activities like bowling or mini-golf or by going as a group to a sporting event.
Ways to Work Socializing into the Business Day
There are other ways for co-workers to connect during the work day outside of the office. Commuting or car pooling with a colleague are examples of ways colleagues can get to know each other as part of their daily work routine. During allocated break times, co-workers can also get together over lunch or a coffee, by taking a walk or doing a lunchtime work-out together. These activities are particularly useful for people who do not want to spend more time at work than they have to but still want to enjoy the benefits or socializing with co-workers.