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.
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