For many employees these days their job is no longer seen as separate from their social life. Millennials are set to constitute 50 per cent of the global workforce by 2020 and they are changing the way our jobs function in the process. Socialising with team mates outside of the office has become a desirable part of the job, with work being seen to this generation as a key part of who they are and no longer separate from their personal lives. This shift away from traditional attitudes towards professional environments being a place for all work and no play has meant hanging out with your colleagues is now an ordinary occurrence. Companies need to embrace this cultural shift and ensure they are open to their employees socialising, whilst ensuring they have HR processes in place to manage the effects this can have upon your business.
So what are the benefits of colleagues socialising with one another? Put simply team socialising helps to boost company morale. Employees want to feel motivated by their work and at ease with their colleagues and so a team that feels happy at work leads to a more productive business. Being part of a friendly, collaborative and supportive company is also going to make it hard for an employee to have their head turned by a competitor, particularly as having an open working culture – not just with regards to their team relationships but towards communication around the goals of the business – helps to give employees a highly-valued sense of purpose.
Let’s not forget though that a team that decides to spend time socialising with each other might strike a feeling of fear in many employers and HR departments. There is always the potential for colleagues to become too relaxed around one another leading to a lack of focus and possibly a dip in business output. However it’s important for companies to remember that people are at the core of their business and if employees feel comfortable enough with each other to hang out outside of work then this is likely to improve retention levels for the business. Ultimately, if your company is equipped with robust business processes and a comprehensive HR support system for the team, then the benefits of friendly working relationships will always outweigh the negatives.
On a professional level socialising within the team can be confidence boosting for junior members. Mentoring is a fantastic way to bring out the potential in a person and the informal mentorship that can come from having an informal, friendly conversation with a more senior team member shouldn’t be overlooked. Similarly, whilst it’s a delicate balance to strike, managers shouldn’t be too warry of socialising with their teams. The change from a work dynamic can serve to create comradeship and demonstrate their support for an open and supportive company culture.
Lucy Wardlaw OBrien
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