How to Make Space for Friendship at Work

Wendy LoewenWorkplace Culture0 Comments

happy worker

Did you know that having a friend at work is one of the best measurements of a strong workplace culture? Friendships in the workplace are fostered the same way they are anywhere else; we need time with each other. Time to chat, time to joke around, time to eat, time to play, and time to work hard together. Shared experiences bond people, and even difficult experiences create a connection.

Here are 4 ways to create a friendlier workplace where people feel appreciated and are given the chance to connect with each other:
1. Provide Variety.

Our workplaces are truly welcoming and foster connections when they reflect that diversity is not just represented in aspects like ethnicity and culture, but in other characteristics such as how we prefer to interact with others and our various workstyles. The extraverted manager who gears the office space, meetings, and social events to suit their preferences is sure to exclude the more introverted people on the team.

2. Consider Space.

It is important to ensure there are well planned public, as well as private spaces in our work environment. We want people to have places to retreat for quiet uninterrupted focus, or at least a means to let others know we are in the zone and do not want to be disturbed. We also want to create welcoming spaces where people can gather with ease and comfort. Staff rooms should be set up as hubs where employees can meet, unwind and spend a bit of time conversing and enjoying the company of their co-workers outside of work demands.

3. Encourage Presence.

It is essential that employees, managers, and supervisors not simply be visible, but that they are present as well. It is vitally important to know what is going on with others and in our workplace. Even though we can’t all know how to do all the tasks in a workplace, we should have a general appreciation and understanding of what the people in our workplace are responsible for, and what is happening in our organization.

4. Give Fun its Rightful Place.

How do you get people to work hard? Pay them lots of money? Threaten them? There has got to be a better way. How about we remember to have some fun! Life is too short to be serious all the time. There is much truth in the words, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Laughter releases endorphins, increases oxygen intake, it elevates our pain threshold, eases stress – and it bonds people together. We need to free ourselves from the notion that professionalism looks austere and serious all the time.

For more on the value of friendship at work, plus a whole lot more, read First Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curtis Coffman.

I invite you to share your ideas about how your workplace encourages connection, friendship, and having fun together.

ACHIEVE is conducting a study for a book we are working on and we would love to hear your input.
The book will draw heavily on “A Great Place to Work” Survey. We hope you participate in the short survey – we would love to hear your input.

Wendy Loewen, Trainer, ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership & Workplace Performance

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