We have all heard the phrase, “I am here to work, not to make friends.” Often, that saying alone holds people back from a lot in the workplace: going to lunch with coworkers, chatting in the hallway, participating in company social outings. If we let it, that mindset can make work an incredibly lonely place; one in which we don’t want to engage with the people we work with unless we are working and only working. And when we are engaging, we are only talking about work, even when we are no longer in the office.
When I first heard that we have a program to promote social outings with each other, I was surprised and excited. Surprised because I know so many have the “I am here to work, not make friends” mindset. And excited because we are a part of a company that doesn’t overlook the importance of a work-life balance and looks to spend time and money making sure that their employees get to have something to look forward to with their coworkers that isn’t strictly business.
At your next company event, get to know someone you work with. Ask about their kiddos, their hobbies, how their weekend was. Take the time to de-stress. Try to leave work at work, even if it is just for an hour or two. We can talk about deadlines and projects and progress at work on Monday. Contrary to popular belief, going to happy hour or a sporting event with your coworkers can further a strong company culture. We can get to know people we don’t typically get to work with. Enjoy each other’s company. Have fun. And after experiences like that, we get to brag about it to others.
Another benefit of participating in these events and working for a company that promotes them is the immediate bragging rights we have. Imagine the appeal it would create if you were trying to recruit someone and were able to say, “Oh by the way, once a month we all get together and go do something like a trivia night, Rockies game, or a 5K to support an organization. Our company pays for us to take a break and go have fun outside of the office.”
You may not feel compelled to go to your company’s next social outing because you have a lot going on. A lot of work to do. You’re stressed, tired, busy, uncomfortable. However, company outings are beneficial when it comes to each one of those things. They allow you to take a break and come back to work ready to tackle the next task at hand. They give you time to take a breath and laugh and enjoy yourself. They provide you with an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and try something you maybe wouldn’t try otherwise. And all the while, you’re building and strengthening relationships with the people you work with every single day. Let your next company event recharge you, build your company up, and challenge you to engage with your coworkers outside of the workplace. You likely won’t regret it.