Is Socializing In The Workplace Important For Team Productivity?
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Socializing In The Workplace: Can It Boost Team Productivity?

According to a research, we spend 35% of our total waking hours over a 50 year working-life period at work, assuming 8 hours of sleep a night. That’s more than a third of our life right there. It is important to decide how you will spend this major chunk of your life; staying confined to your workspace or utilizing this time for building team relations.

In most of the organizations, employees seem to be running out of hours to meet deadlines and can barely take time out for small talk, much less socializing. This often results in hurrying back to their desks after short breaks, or not taking breaks at all.

It also comes down to personal choice and way of working. Some employees need to feel connected to and appreciated at their workplace. For them, the manager’s response and feedback, a sense of purpose and feeling involved in the work environment are all very important factors.

For others, socialization may be viewed as unnecessary politics, a distraction from work, a negative impact on productivity and synonymous to avoidable time wastage.

To each his own. However, statistics favor the former category of employees. A study by The McKinsey Global Institute shows that productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations with connected employees.

To understand this phenomenon better, let’s dive a little deeper and see what real experts, managers, and founders have to say.

Improved Communication & Collaboration

Did you know that a survey of 400 companies cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per annum due to lack of proper communication? That’s right, communication is important and lack thereof can cost you.

When coworkers socialize outside of work, it makes working together more enjoyable and keeps coworkers motivated. That is what Stephen Ufford, the founder of a leading global identity and business verification company, Trulioo, has to say. This leads to improved communication, good work ethic, flexibility and a better understanding of each employee’s responsibilities.

Ashley Mady is the founder of Brandberry; a company that designs and creates brands. Mady believes that when employees get together outside of the normal work environment, it allows them to form a deeper bond that may lead to a more collaborative work environment.

Most of the team communication in today’s world takes place through online team collaboration tools. They might be effective for communication but can be rigid in not allowing the flexibility required to keep your employees happy. It’s important to choose the right tool that not only lets everyone effectively collaborate but also helps them connect personally, hence allowing socialization.

Mutual Trust And Respect

“Most good relationships are built on mutual trust and respect.” - Mona Sutphen

This applies to our workspaces and organizations, too. Employees tend to experience a more positive work environment when they trust their managers/organizations.

Robert Murray is a Business Strategy Consultant, partner at Incrementa Consulting Inc., #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. According to Murray, when employees take time to personally connect with their teams, it gives their job more meaning, and makes them feel appreciated and respected. This, in turn, fosters mutual trust, respect, integrity, and understanding.

Alexander Kjerulf, an international author and speaker on happiness at work, also considers coworkers socializing essential for their careers. According to Kjerulf, socializing and getting to know employees as people, can help in better communications, mutual trust, and better collaboration.

Not to mention, employees with positive workplace relationships are happier at work. Some ideas by Kjerulf: coffee break where you don't talk about work, lunch breaks, small office celebrations for birthdays or team wins.

Employee Retention

Employee turnover can be time-consuming and energy-draining; yet, it is a common problem faced by many organizations. One of the key factors that employees keep looking for new jobs is their lack of connectivity with the employer.

An interesting research by Gallup: Employees who are "engaged and thriving" are 59 % less likely to go job hunting in the next 12 months.

Hear it from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. According to Rubin, to improve employee satisfaction, employers need to find ways to encourage social relations.

David Spinks seconds this finding. According to the co-founder of CMX Media, relationship-building within the office should be encouraged; chief reasons being an increase in employee retention, the creation of a strong culture and most of all, to make work more enjoyable for the entire team.

These are some of the stories from experts. What’s your take on workplace socialization? Let us know what you recommend in the comments below.

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