Building fun into the workday
It can be a manager’s dream to work with employees so engaged with their company and co-workers that they keep connections going while outside the office.
That’s not something that can be manufactured or orchestrated. Employees prefer to enjoy the setting where they spend a good part of their day. Supervisors are no different in that regard. But if interaction isn’t natural, workers aren’t likely to continue it. To them, engagement will feel like another part of their job, which defeats the purpose of enjoying their time away from work.
Here at MultiView, we’re accomplished at social and team-building activities, from the occasional pot luck or sports outing to more involved undertakings such as ice cream sundae bars or Olympic-style team competitions.
Those events sometimes stay within a single department but frequently include the entire office. The company’s Halloween celebration, during which all employees are encouraged to come to work in costume — and which ends with an off-site party complete with prizes — is legendary, in part because the entire company, from the executive suite on down, buys in. The end result of all of those gatherings is always fun.
The question is, how can leaders ensure that such occurrences take place? It’s not so difficult.
“Supervisors need to lead the way by encouraging employees to engage with one another and by actively creating opportunities for them to interact in a non-work related way,” said Steve Brittain, director of publishing at MultiView. “Set time aside periodically to bring the team together for no reason other than to enjoy each other’s company.”
Leaders can reaffirm the outings first by participating, and then by leaving business at the office. Setting an example outside the workplace can be as important as doing so at work.
Still, only about a third of U.S. workers are engaged, according to a recent Gallup poll. That’s important not only in a social sense, but financially. Firms with higher numbers of engaged employees had less turnover and absenteeism and were 22 percent more profitable, the University of North Carolina reported in its research, “Powering Your Bottom Line Through Employee Engagement.”
Additionally, the study showed that work groups that ranked in the 99th percentile of engagement were bound to succeed four times more often than employees in the lowest-ranked groups.
Camaraderie can’t be forced, but it can be facilitated. Non-mandatory after-work outings like team trips to sporting events, concerts and festivals can help promote that. Community projects take the focus off of forced socializing but still bring the chance for enjoyment among colleagues while adding good feelings for serving others.
Brittain has seen first-hand the effects of interaction bringing benefits in the workplace.
“I think employees who have common interests and who find ways to connect outside of the office can help grow a sense of camaraderie once they’re back at work,” he said. “Developing deeper relationships and friendships with the people who you’re spending the majority of your day with can increase employee satisfaction and leads to better overall morale on the team.”
As the number of employees working remotely increases, companies are wise to explore and encourage opportunities for teams to connect. Still, the payoff will only come if the occasions are enjoyable, Brittain said.
“These opportunities shouldn’t be so frequent that they become a burden or infringe on employees’ time with their families,” he said. “Create an atmosphere that fosters interaction, but don’t make it a mandatory part of the job.”
Get in on the fun, and apply to join the MultiView team today!