Lots of offices are either fully or semi-remote these days, and workers have been telecommuting for almost a year now. It’s not difficult to see how this transition to a virtual workplace disrupts personal connections between colleagues. With so little face-to-face interaction, if you don’t have strong coworker friendships, your 9 to 5 can be a lonely time. Many people who started a new job within the last 12 months have never actually met their coworkers in person!
Work friendships are a vital part of our everyday existence. A human resources study reported on by CNBC shows that 70 percent of employees say it’s crucial to have friends in the workplace. Many people spend a third of each day at work, five times per week. With so much time each week devoted to work, it makes sense to develop friendships with coworkers. Additionally, the benefits of strong work friendships include:
- Being more invested in your work
- Having trusted confidants you can turn to for advice
- Persevering through common struggles
- Reduced feelings of isolation
- Improvements in overall health and well-being
- The satisfaction of helping others achieve their goals
- Expanding your career network
Even when you don’t share a physical office space, you can still take steps to deepen friendships with colleagues. Here are a few things you can get started on today.
#1. Invite coworkers to attend an online Meetup career event
If you and the people you work with are career-oriented, go-getter types, what better way is there to socialize than by networking outside the virtual office? There are all kinds of career groups on Meetup, whether you and your colleagues are young professionals with entrepreneurial aspirations or seasoned veterans making a name in your field.
For example, NY Career Meetup regularly hosts online events where you can pitch your best business ideas and meet trend-setters from the Forbes Top 30 Under 30 list. Women’s Voices in Tech is a great option for women who want to excel in the technology space.
#2. Host virtual happy hours
Planned gatherings that occur regularly are an excellent way to broaden your base of workplace friends and deepen your coworker friendships. These help reduce feelings of social anxiety and pressure. Everyone knows that if they miss out on one event, they can always join the next one. Happy hours are comfortable, fun, and no fuss. That’s what everyone wants after a hard day of work.
With a little preparation, virtual happy hours can be just as enjoyable as in-person ones. When you’re hosting, it can be helpful to have a few conversation starters up your sleeve. As most everyone has discovered this past year, small talk takes a little more effort when it’s taking place over Zoom. That’s where you come in with a discussion on recent news, or a classic guessing game like two truths and a lie. You can even add a book club or film club element to your virtual happy hour.
If you’re looking for any more pointers, check out these 4 Tips for Fun and Frequent Virtual Happy Hours.
#3. Host a safe, distanced outdoor event
The office may be closed, but you can still meet with your nearby colleagues in person. If you plan an outdoor gathering that follows local safety guidelines, your event can be a welcome relief from the online workplace.
When hosting a safe outdoor event, there are a few extra steps to follow. You should always communicate with your colleagues about expected behaviors like mask-wearing and hand-sanitizing. It’s also important to plan logistics like the venue, time of day, and group size well in advance. Think of an alternate meeting spot before the day of the event, and have a backup online event planned in case of bad weather. For more specifics, learn How to Host Safe Outdoor Events on Meetup.
Through outdoor events with colleagues, you can discover the awesome hidden hobbies and skills of people you work with every day and develop coworker friendships. Who knows which of your colleagues might sign up for your 5k, your acoustic music jam, your urban hike, or your photography tour?
Get to know the people around you through Meetup
These tried and true social activities can help you make friends with coworkers whether you work remotely or in person. Whatever your situation is, there are bound to be colleagues who share some of your interests and your desire for personal connection. If you want to invite others to attend an event with you, you can choose from thousands of Meetup events taking place every day. If you’d prefer a private company event, you can easily create your own Meetup group and start hosting today.
Last modified on March 25, 2021