How to Change Lives In Your Everyday Job

workplace community

With our mile-long agendas and hundreds of projects to complete at work, creating community in our offices tends to end at the bottom of our priority lists. But since most of the hours in our weeks are spent at our offices, it makes sense to invest in creating a space that is healthy, engaging, and communal, one that boosts our spirits and makes us look forward to heading into work every morning.

We certainly don’t want to add too much more to your to-do lists so we came up with a few tips that we think are easy to implement but will make all the difference in your daily grind.

1. Eat Lunch Together 

Spend a few days a week eating lunch with your coworkers. Get some fresh air and head out to a fun restaurant together or implement a weekly tradition of cooking for one another. My coworker is in our office on Tuesdays, so each week one of us takes the lead on preparing a main course for us to share (salads, soups, sandwiches) while the other brings a side dish or tasty dessert (fruit, muffins, cookies, smoothies). We implemented this tradition earlier this year and I can’t tell you how much this one simple change has brightened up my week. The action not only forces me to be more creative in the kitchen but it has also carved out a special, fun time to look forward to sharing with my coworker.

If you have a lot of coworkers to feed, consider taking turns bringing dishes in for a potluck every week. Or choose local restaurants near your office where you can spend some time away from your devices, try a fun new type of cuisine, and get to know your coworkers outside of the workplace.

Workplace community tips

2. Encourage One Another

When we achieve or accomplish something special in the workplace, it’s exciting to receive positive feedback and recognition for our efforts. Sometimes this affirmation comes from our bosses, but other times it comes from our coworkers. There’s a particular specialness that’s derived from a compliment from our fellow office mates because the positivity creates an environment that is supportive rather than competitive. Make the extra effort to acknowledge a coworker’s achievements, whether with a verbal compliment, a positive email, or a kind note on his or her desk. These little gestures will go along way in promoting a positive rapport around the office.

3. Remember Special Occasions

Nothing brightens up a workspace or brings people together like celebrating special days, both big and small. Create a calendar where coworkers can list important dates — birthdays, work anniversaries, project completion days — and gather a committee of people together to plan fun ways to commemorate these particular events. Involving treats like cake and ice cream is always fun, but think outside of the box, too — plan an after work happy hour at a nearby bar or schedule an off-site lunch at a restaurant everyone’s been wanting to try. Doing new things together will create a special sense of camaraderie, and your coworkers will feel more united when they’re sharing in (and celebrating!) the important milestones in life.

How do you create community in your workplace?

Images via Camila Gutierrez

Rachel is the Development Director for the Touch A Life Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of exploited and trafficked children in West Africa and Southeast Asia. She currently lives in Dallas, TX, with her husband, their baby girl Ruby, and their cuddly English mastiff.

4 COMMENTS
  • Chloe June 25, 2016

    This is such a great article! Simple and easy to implement ideas are so important in this day in age. I work from home, often struggling to find that connection and motivation that you get from co-workers, like you say, it helps so much to have that positive feedback (or even constructive) from the people around you. Curious if anyone has any ideas on how to cultivate this kind of idea in a at-home work environment?

    • Rachel Brown June 27, 2016

      Great question, Chloe! Could you set up some lunch or coffee dates occasionally where you’re getting together with people in a similar line of work as you, or at least also work from home so there’s some commonalities? That gets you out of the house a bit and provides support with people who are doing similar work as you. You could start meeting with these people once a month to keep building the relationships and start cultivating some genuine, consistent community.

  • Rai June 24, 2016

    This article was so perfectly timed. I’m currently working in a non profit and struggling to figure out how to build community in a busy work environment. Any other tips from readers would be great!

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