Getting Acquainted Part 3: Your Work

French market place photo

Hi Everyone! I wanted to close out the Getting Acquainted Series by talking about work! I know, I know, who really wants to talk about work, but your job is actually a great place to meet others and to make friends. Your job is a place where you will spend a lot of time (for better or worse), so why not take advantage of that fact and get to know your teammates or others within your organization?

I decided for this post I would give you my 3 reasons why you should befriend your colleagues followed by…of course a challenge for you to accept and try out on your own! So here are my reasons:

Three Reasons to Befriend Your Work Colleagues:

  1. They will help your organization feel smaller. Now I know this can depend on company size but for the larger businesses, feeling a part of a community when there are tens of thousands of employees can be very important.  I found this initially to be a concern for me, but I was eager to find ways to make it feel more relatable.
  2. They will be the best to help train and onboard you into your new role. They’ll know the ins and outs well and will be able to help you get up to speed on work objectives.
  3. You’ll learn about each other’s lives both in and outside of work which can help build rapport inside of work. Research has shown that by having some friends at work, you’ll not only enjoy your time more, but you may be more successful at work. Basically, you’ll work better as teammates if you know a bit about each other. It doesn’t need to be intrusive, but instead cordial and not overbearing.

Harvard Business Review posted a great article, We All Need Friends at Work on this topic recently, if you would like to read more about it!

There are great benefits to building friendships and I have found it very rewarding to have those connections at work. From these relationships, I’ve had the opportunity to go on mini-vacations, attend weddings and baby showers, and have celebrated some of life’s biggest moments with my peers. Now I’m not saying that this is a requirement from the connections that you make, or that you need to become best friends with your peers but knowing just a little bit about each other can go a long way with creating a positive work environment.

coworkers_imperial
Taco Night with Work Colleagues @ Imperial!

Okay so we talked about some of the great benefits, now let’s discuss some tangible ways to do this, followed with you guessed it, your challenge!

  • Introduce yourself to the people on your team. 
  • Attend meetings in person. I did this when I had transitioned to a new role as a way to have those in other departments know who I was and what projects I was supporting. I ended up clicking well with two women from a different group and now we meet once a month for lunch to talk about life and work.
  • Join a New Hire group. A lot of companies have these now as a way to create a simple stepping stone into meeting others within your company; so partake!
  • Attend some of the social gatherings your group hosts. Naturally, you don’t have to attend all but try for 1 to 2 every couple of months or quarter. This will help you to see your peers in a more relaxed setting which helps to connect with them more.
  • Last but NOT least. If these organizations or groups don’t exist, form them yourself! If you haven’t learned this about me yet, I’m a BIG proponent of being proactive and taking things into one’s own hands if there isn’t an option currently available. It’s a great option if you want to meet others and often times, people are LOOKING for someone to start.  Why not make it yourself?

To share a personal story, at my first post-college job, I was struggling to connect with my colleagues.   There were various reasons for it, but I felt some of it could be alleviated by just getting to know each other in a more social setting. So I decided to form the “International Connoisseurs Group”. This was a group that got together every month and ventured out and visited a variety of restaurants and followed by a cool activity. It was so much fun and it was a neat way to connect with each other as peers.

My sister tried this at her job recently and set up a night with her coworkers where they went out salsa dancing. She said everyone had fun and it was nice to see each other dressed up as they usually have to wear a uniform at work.

So my challenge to you this week is to TRY one of the ways that I mentioned above to meet your peers and to make connections. Leave a comment below on which one you tried!

Talk soon!

~Alicia

Here’s another great article on Workplace Friendships by Fast Company.

Why Having Friends At Work Is So Important

 

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