Do you have friends at work? You don't have to be friends with everyone you work with, but making meaningful connections in the workplace improves collaboration, productivity, and job satisfaction. Also, your work environment becomes more positive and supportive when you have friends in the workplace. If you're starting a new job or simply haven't made any friends at work yet, what can you do to connect with others and make a friend or two?
We recently asked our leading executives for their best tips on how to make friends at work.
Here are their responses...
Ana Smith, Leadership Development & Learning Strategist
Making friends at work, especially in a hybrid work environment, requires a combination of social skills, communication, and genuine interest in others. Here are some expert tips to help you build strong friendships with your colleagues in a hybrid world:
- Participate in Social Activities: Engage in both virtual and in-person social activities organized by your company or colleagues. These can include team-building events, online coffee breaks, virtual happy hours, or in-person outings. Participating in these activities provides opportunities to connect with your coworkers in a relaxed setting.
- Active Communication: Make an effort to communicate regularly with your colleagues, both online and offline. Utilize instant messaging platforms, emails, and virtual meetings to stay connected with remote colleagues. In the office, take time to have casual conversations and get to know your coworkers on a personal level.
- Express Interest in Others: Show genuine interest in your colleagues' lives, interests, and hobbies. Ask them about their weekend plans, hobbies, or any personal projects they are working on. Active listening and remembering details about their lives can help strengthen your connections.
- Be Approachable and Friendly: Create an approachable and friendly demeanor. Smile, use positive body language, and be receptive to conversations with your coworkers. A warm and welcoming attitude can encourage others to approach you and initiate conversations.
- Find Common Interests: Discover shared interests with your colleagues. Whether it's a hobby, a favorite TV show, or a sport, having common ground can serve as a great conversation starter and strengthen your bond.
- Offer Help and Support: Be supportive of your coworkers and offer help when needed. Collaborating on projects or assisting with challenges can create a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect.
- Organize Informal Gatherings: Take the initiative to organize informal gatherings, whether it's a virtual game night, a lunch meetup, or a casual walk during breaks. These gatherings can help foster a sense of community among colleagues.
- Respect Boundaries: While building friendships, it's essential to be respectful of colleagues' boundaries and professional space. Some individuals may prefer to keep their personal and professional lives separate, so be mindful of their preferences.
- Celebrate Milestones and Achievements: Acknowledge your colleagues' milestones and accomplishments. Congratulate them on their successes, both personally and professionally, and celebrate special occasions like birthdays or work anniversaries.
- Be Patient and Consistent: Building meaningful friendships takes time, so be patient and consistent in your efforts. Keep nurturing your connections and be willing to invest in maintaining these relationships.
Remember, making friends at work in a hybrid world requires adapting to different communication channels and being proactive in reaching out to both in-person and remote colleagues. By fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment, you can create lasting friendships that enhance your overall work experience.
Ana Smith helps people & organizations achieve their full talent potential by developing and co-creating people strategies and customized solutions, and turning them into impactful outcomes and collaborative relationships, using coaching as the "red thread."
Lisa Perry, Global Marketing Executive
Image from Bigstock
Having that go-to work buddy you can rely on to vent about your boss or cheer for those big victories—it’s the best thing! Friends at work contribute to job satisfaction, collaboration, productivity, and well-being. According to a Gallup survey, women with a best friend at work are twice as likely to be engaged in what they're doing. Making friends with coworkers is a valuable skill that can enhance your career experience and create a positive work environment. Most importantly, it can make you happy!
Here are a few pointers, whether you're starting a job or wanting to make friends in your current role:
- Foster Approachability & Positivity: Creating a welcoming and approachable demeanor is the first step to making friends at work. Great your coworkers with a warm smile, engage in small talk that conveys authentic interest, and steer clear of consistent complaints or engaging in office gossip to maintain a positive atmosphere.
- The Power of Small Gestures: Begin by learning people’s names and incorporating them into conversations to create a positive impact right from the start. Next, invest your time in celebrating important milestones such as birthdays, work anniversaries, and personal achievements to show appreciation for your coworkers.
- Participation Is Key: Embrace involvement in various activities from team-building initiatives and company-sponsored events to casual social gatherings, as these opportunities offer an excellent avenue for establishing meaningful connections with your coworkers.
- Shared Interests as a Bonding Foundation: Seek out common areas that resonate with you and your coworkers. Whether it’s shared workplace challenges or mutual hobbies, these share elements can lay the groundwork for nurturing meaningful connections.
- Extend a Helping Hand: Support your coworkers by lending a hand with projects. This collaboration effort underscores your teamwork capabilities and provides a platform to foster genuine workplace friendship.
Incorporating these strategies into your workplace interactions can enrich your well-being, underscoring the significance of cultivating meaningful friendships at work.
Lisa Perry helps companies build leadership brands, driving loyal customers & delivering profitability. She does this through a process that builds brands consumers love. Her goal is to help companies develop, monetize, and grow their brands.
How do you make friends at work? Join the conversation inside Work It Daily's Executive Program.
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