All too many employers and employees view the office as solely a place in which to work, and while it is obviously important to make sure all necessary tasks are competed throughout your working day, we are as a species rather social creatures, and as such it is also important that we find time for conversion with our colleagues.

Although ‘social hours’ as a term tends to refer to time outside of the office or working environment, allowing employees to interact in a fun and social manner while at work carries with it countless benefits in terms of morale and productivity. These benefits are often overlooked by employers, and that may just be a big mistake on their part. So, what are the merits of socialisation in the office, and why should employers take note?

Sharing of Knowledge and Expertise

Some measure of the time spent socialising between employees will naturally end up focusing on aspects of the work itself, and in this there are major benefits to be found. Two employees with different approaches and outlooks happily sharing their opinions and experience will help them both to improve, finding more efficient and effective way to go about their daily tasks.

They may also find themselves reminding each other of small tasks that otherwise might be overlooked, helping to ensure that all work is completed on time.

One final yet major benefit of such social times is in the case of new employees. Casually discussing working practices and the like with a colleague in a break room will allow them to relax and more readily take on the information. This will also give them a feeling of community in the office from the beginning.

Building Trust

Trust between colleagues is highly important if they are to effectively work together. If you hand on a project to another staff member ready for the next stage in its completion, being unsure as to whether you can trust them to perform properly and on time may make you reluctant to work closely alongside them. By communicating more often levels of trust can be built, which will also make employees feel more comfortable when turning to colleagues for advice, as they feel more likely to be offered help than turned in to management for getting something wrong. This will all help to improve the knowledge of your workforce, their morale, and their productivity.

Welcoming New Employees

Starting a new job is always a daunting experience, and a little socialisation can go a long way in helping new employees feel comfortable and settle into their role. As mentioned above, this will also allow them to get to grips with the various elements of their working day in a more casual and relaxed atmosphere, readily accepting information from a colleague with a genuine wish to help rather than management, in whose presence new members of staff may feel nervous or intimidated. Such negative feelings may have a negative impact on their uptake of new roles and duties, and so the more social approach once again proves superior.

Encouraging Teamwork

This point ties in heavily with the aforementioned points on knowledge sharing and trust building, but merits mention in its own right. By fostering genuine relationships between staff members, they are more likely to be willing to work as a close-knit group. Furthermore, employees offering praise to one another or having a quick boast about a job well done can actually massively improve upon morale and team spirit, further boosting their productivity as a result.

Boosting Morale

Pretty much everything we have already discussed over the course of this article should have a noticeable and positive affect upon the morale of your workforce, as they will feel more a member of a community than simply a number on company paperwork. If employees are able to build proper friendships and relationships in the office they are far more likely to look forward to coming in, starting the day with a positive attitude that will affect all aspects of their work and likely rub off on other employees, boosting your team as a whole.

Improving Employee Retention

All the time you spend recruiting and training new employees is of course entirely wasted if they jump ship after their first few weeks. In the case of longer-serving members of staff, you will want to keep them happy in order to keep their expertise, and socialisation can go a long way in this regard. Building upon the various positives we have discussed, you workforce will be happier and as a result less likely to seek out new employment. The benefits of this to your company are numerous and rather obvious.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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