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Loving your coworkers is such a hugely underrated part of loving your actual work. It’s the company you keep that can make the crappy parts of your job so much better (and everyone has crappy parts). Feeling supported can make you more productive, and having fun in the middle of your work day can make you happier throughout those less pleasant daily tasks.
Luckily, I really love my job. Partly because I get to strategize with brilliant people and play on Facebook all day, but also because I have brain crushes on every. single. one. of my coworkers. The people I work with are smart, funny, supportive and just a pleasure to be around.
But I know most people aren’t in love with every single one of their coworkers. That doesn’t mean, however, that your team can’t implement a few tactics to make work more fun and creative. Here are five ideas you can try out at work to develop a stronger office culture:
Yammer is a social network for the office, where you can update people on what you’re working on, ask a question to the team or – my personal favorite – share fun or interesting links relevant to your profession (everyone loves a good industry inside joke).
We use this as a place to crack a lot of jokes at each others’ expense, but it’s also a super quick way to find out general office questions without clogging up everyone’s inbox.
2. Weekly lunches
I’m lucky in that my bosses buy us all lunch on Fridays (whoohoo!), but even if you haven’t landed the boss trifecta yet, going out socially with your coworkers can do wonders for your office relationships.
Who knew you loved the same books or lived in the same foreign city? And don’t be shy! I promise they’ll be flattered you asked.
3. Team talks
Everyone in the office can learn from each other – I don’t care if you’re the receptionist or part of the legal team. Everyone brings a wide variety of skills to the table, and even if you’ll never use SEO or develop a website in your life, it’s important to understand what the people around you actually do.
Weekly talks given by each member of your team is a great way to show off your skills, teach a cool lesson and be valued for the work you provide.
4. Brainstorming sessions
Know what makes people love their coworkers? Feeling like they’re valued.
My employer makes each and every one of us feel like our ideas are worth something by holding what we call “10 to 10 sessions” – 10 minutes of brainstorming at 10am. Everyone who’s not swamped is required to attend and spitball for 10 minutes on a new brief, client or project.
5. Varied furniture
The atmosphere at a restaurant affects how we value the price and quality of the food. So why do all corporate environments look and feel the same?
While we have our weekly meetings at a boardroom table, we also have a few couches and a bar where coworkers can sit and have a catch-up. This adds a casual element to briefs and brainstorms so you don’t constantly feel like you’re in a stuffy environment and more at ease with your coworkers.
Not the boss yet? Next time you have a one-on-one meeting with a coworkers, suggest you grab a coffee outside of the office. Everyone loves coffee.
What do you do to add a most casual element to your work space? Is this something your current office does well or has it all gone horribly, horribly wrong?
Marian Schembari is a blogger, traveler and all-around social media thug. She’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, hails from Connecticut and blogs at marianlibrarian.com.