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Do you recall your first day at school? Most people find it pretty overwhelming. You are eager to prove yourself, and are on the hunt for some new friends.
On the first day in a new job, you might feel the same way. As you graduate from the school playground to the office floor, the desire to forge meaningful bonds with your peers is not likely to diminish. A workplace ally serves as a useful sounding board when you are having a difficult time, and with a buddy or two by your side, the workplace becomes a less lonely and traumatic place. It is important to have someone you can talk to, cry to, or ask for advice from.
Employees who have friends at work are happier, less stressed, and more motivated. According to a study published by Gallup, people with a best friend at work are more likely to be engaged in their job. When working with friends, 21% of employees said they are more creative.
You won’t rise to popularity by sharing your morning snack or offering a page from your coloring book, even though the benefits are obvious. The recent shift to remote working has made it difficult for workers to find genuine and meaningful friends, despite the usual concerns such as the need to remain professional.
That is not to say that it is not possible.
6 Ways To Make Friends At Work
Here are six tips for making friends at work, whether you commute into the office or sit behind a computer screen at the kitchen table.
1. Organize Social Events
You won’t be able to make friends at work if your interactions are limited to formal project meetings, weekly team catch-ups, and client pitches. Your relationships can quickly evolve into something more meaningful when you attend and organize social events with your colleagues.
Team dinners, happy hours, or team building activities are possible. It is a good idea to invite people for lunch or a morning coffee at work. Small acts of kindness can help you get noticed. You could volunteer to do the coffee run or bring in cupcakes for your team to eat.
It is easy to schedule online social events, such as virtual team lunches or weekly book club, if you work remotely. It’s important to put social events in the calendar because you won’t have the same opportunities for workplace interactions as a remote worker
If you can, make an effort to go into the office on a semi-regular basis, since this is a good chance to foster more meaningful relationships. You will have access to communal working areas, chat with more people, and meet your colleagues face to face.
2. Join an Employee Resource Group (ERG)
An ERG is an employee-led, voluntary society designed to connect and support a group of workers who share a specific characteristic. It is possible that your organization has an ERG for the LGBTQ+ community, one for Jewish employees, or one that serves women.
A key focus for these groups is tackling organization-wide problems, whether it is a lack of minority representation at the leadership level or insufficient diversity. They serve as a safe place for marginalized employees to voice their concerns.
As a member of an ERG, you will have the opportunity to make meaningful changes within your organization, take part in event planning, meet people who understand your lived experience, and find mentors. It is a great way to meet new people and get involved in something meaningful.
3. Join (or Start) a Special Interest Group
workplace societies are not limited to ERGs. Many organizations have special interest groups that are designed to boost employee engagement and satisfaction.
If none of your company’s existing communities take your fancy, you can launch a group of your own.
A crowd of like-minded people who share your interests is the best way to draw them in. If you can get a mention in a company newsletter, you should post a bulletin on your organization’s intranet. All you need to do is arrange a regular meeting time, be it online or in the office, once you spark a bit of excitement.
4. Volunteer for Charity
Volunteer schemes have been shown to attract top talent, improve morale, and boost engagement, and paid-time-off for volunteering is part of an employee’s overall compensation package.
If you want to help your local community or instill a sense of purpose, you might be the one to partake in these initiatives. Volunteering at work is a great way to get to know more people within your organization.
It is possible to forge meaningful and lasting relationships when you are painting a mural, mentoring local school children, or working in an animal shelter. Talk to your manager to find out what charitable work your organization is committed to and how you can get involved.
5. Schedule One-to-Ones with Your Team Members
It is important to get to know your colleagues on an individual basis.
In the first few weeks or months of your new role, schedule one-to-one time with each of your teammates. These meetings could be a quick way to catch up on work over the internet. Introduce yourself and get to know your co-workers on a more intimate level by asking about their interests, preferred working styles, hobbies and living arrangements.
You can use this time to offer assistance. Is there a project that you can help your colleague with? Demonstrating your willingness to work together and support your team members will build trust and aid in the development of meaningful workplace friendships.
Once you know your team members a little better and have spent time working closely with them, you will be able to make social plans more naturally. Whether it is advice on how to handle a difficult colleague or help with a challenging assignment, you will be more comfortable leaning on them when you need workplace support.
6. Attend Internal Networking Events
Internal workplace events are a great way to meet people from across your organization, which will help you find more friends.
To learn more about the events your organization holds, speak to your new teammates. Training events, educational talks, and regular staff parties are possible. If you enjoy socializing, you could join an events-planning committee which will keep you busy and introduce you to more people.
Kate Kultsevych is the image credit