You spend a lot of time with your coworkers, sometimes more than with your family, so why not count them as friends? Having friends at work has been shown to increase employee engagement, performance, confidence in employees’ work abilities, and more. With all these reasons, it’s clear why being friends with your coworkers is a good thing. Here are five simple ways you can start elevating your workplace friendships.
1. Start with a conversation and go from there.
Being the first person to initiate a friendship can feel nervewracking, but it doesn’t have to be. Begin by asking your colleague what their plans are for the weekend or what their thoughts are on an upcoming movie or play. Chances are, they’ll be happy to share their plans and opinions. You may even discover an interest you share.
2. Work from a different space than you usually do.
If you’re able to move around the office to work, do it! Changing up your workspace scenery can not only provide increased inspiration and creativity, it also provides the opportunity for you to meet people who sit on the other side of the office.
3. Who doesn’t love food?
Bring a snack for your office or department. Organize a potluck. Ask a coworker if they want to go with you to grab an afternoon snack. When it comes to food, if you bring it, your coworkers will be there.
4. Participate in office activities.
Whether it’s after-work drinks, an offsite activity or lunch in the common area, take advantage of opportunities that allow you to get to know people away from the pressures and confines of their desks. If there aren’t after-work activities scheduled, maybe you volunteer your time to organize one.
5. Keep an open mind.
You might think, “I have nothing in common with my peers,” or “We’re all too different.” Don’t let this kind of thinking deter you from making friends with your coworkers! Remember that we’re all human and seeking connection. Use this commonality as a starting point if you’re worried that you have nothing in common with your peers.
But trust us—you probably have more in common with your coworkers than you think.
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