These days, workplace conversations are not always about work. Socializing at work is different from socializing with friends and family. It helps strengthen workplace relationships. However, socializing on personal topics or daily life requires one to know the other person well.
For example, talking to the Manager about someone’s actions. Likewise, talking to a coworker about the last weekend trip.
So, it is appropriate to socialize and talk to others about non-work-related things too. Therefore, as social beings: co-workers, employees and managers are often required to socialize.
Certainly, people have various types of personalities. Those who are outgoing may socialize at work easily while others may feel difficulties talking to strangers. Moreover, this is why the classification between Introverts and Extroverts is so rampant.
Therefore, it is necessary to understand the art of socializing at the workplace. To clarify how to proceed, here’s a closer look at what socializing in the workplace means after all.
What does Socializing at Work mainly involve?
Certainly, workplace relationships are not always about work but also outside work. However, Socializing too rarely or frequently can deter productivity at work.
Therefore, knowing when and how to socialize can help leave the right impressions. Moreover, many of us create expectations on our ability to socialize at the workplace.
For instance, the following situations are times when it’s relevant to socialize at work:
- During Lunch Hour/ Break
- Before a meeting is about to start
- Greeting someone at Work
- While assisting Clients/ Customers
Prevalent modes of Socializing at Work:
To clarify again if you’re socializing at work, most importantly remain respectful as a professional. Certainly, it’s challenging but there are strategies you can use for better relationships.
So, here are 3 prevalent modes for a better approach to socializing at work:
#1: Socializing with Colleagues or Coworkers
Above all, socializing with coworkers strengthens the quality of workplace relationships. In addition to this, it promotes team spirit and rapport building. Further, these interpersonal skills encourage trust and enable teams to perform efficiently.
Certainly, apart from a Manager or Boss, coworkers are willing to communicate on non-work matters the most. Moreover, they work in close proximity and collaborate with you on various projects. A good coworker is likewise a reliable comrade with whom you can have conversations beyond work.
However, do not assume that coworkers are your friends so keep it professional. That is to say, you can always try socializing as and when feasible to learn about them more.
#2: Socializing at Work with Clients or Customers
If a job requires customer interaction, one has to talk often about business and non-business matters too. Moreover, it makes the client feel that they are working with a real person.
Therefore, building trust and bonds with customers helps one to know them better. Subsequently, one should avoid topics that are too personal or inappropriate.
Note: Generate interest in the client by informing about products or services. After that, invite questions from them and monitor their engagement rate. Lastly, enrich the customer experience by learning about their interests and concerns.
#3: Socializing at Work with the Manager or Boss
Some people have a hard time socializing at work with their Manager(s). Further, the difference in status or rank hinders their ability to socialize. As a result, for most of us, a work relationship with the Boss is a major constraint.
However, even if it’s a difficult conversation, it’s important to maintain a positive relationship. So, one may try to learn about the Manager’s interests instead. Moreover, finding topics that the manager is generally interested at is a good place to start.
No matter the comfort level with a Manager, they should always be respectful when talking to them. Use appropriate workplace language on relevant topics that are not offensive or derogatory.
Note: Certainly, as an employee: one should try to leave a good impression even if it’s not about work.
The 9 Do’s and Don’ts for Socializing at Work
#1: Participate in Social Engagements:
Most importantly, for social engagement invitations, seize such opportunities to engage with coworkers. Moreover, a structured setting in the workplace allows team-bonding activities or gatherings.
Therefore, these environments can facilitate conversations and offer participation in these activities. However, one must retain composure with colleagues and establish better connections through them. Further, it helps employees relieve their work concerns and allow socializing at work.
Note: If you want to engage in social events like office parties or functions then start with a greeting. Additionally, introductions through pleasantries and small talk, open the room for further discussion.
#2: Avoid habitual gossip and chatter:
Certainly, most of us have heard it frequently that “birds of the same feather flock together.” Similarly, the same is true while socializing at work.
Therefore, one might encounter different coworkers who bond together on common interests. Moreover, over time such groups may associate in behaviours like gossiping or banter. So, if you’re unconsciously a part of them, reevaluate how you socialize with others at work.
Note: Behaviour that ostracises others and causes chaos can affect your workplace engagement. So, maintain positive and respectful relationships with colleagues at the workplace.
#3: Refrain from inappropriate conduct with the opposite sex:
Note: Exert caution about your choice of words at the workplace. In particular, if it’s about a colleague of the opposite gender. Additionally, remember not to discuss or tease others through lewd jokes or conduct.
Moreover, certain words and phrases uttered casually can be objectionable for others. However, as we have often heard: it’s all about the context.
Therefore, refrain from anything that gets considered as workplace harassment. Certainly, it’s also subjective, in other words different people may resonate differently to a topic. Therefore, use appropriate workplace language, ask for their consent instead of offending them.
For example, you may call a good friend stupid but you shouldn’t call your colleague stupid. Similarly, if they feel uncomfortable and protest then stop your action immediately. To clarify once again, do not intrude into someone’s personal space or boundary as indecent.
Related: Setting Boundaries: A Guide for effective communication
Again for instance, you may laugh at a joke with double meaning about the opposite sex. However, you should not share it with someone of the opposite gender at your workplace.
Certainly, such actions can have serious repercussions. So, always be vocal about what you find uncomfortable, irrespective of gender. Most importantly, if you do not want to get accused on sexual harassment charges at the workplace.
#4: Get inclusive with coworkers in meaningful conversations:
A good ethic while socializating at work is to be as inclusive as possible in your conversations. Avoid polarising others with your comments and engaging with your coworkers meaningfully.
Moreover, converse on topics that spark their interest and find out their perspectives. After that, you may find colleagues appreciating your genuine kindness and charisma. In addition, socializing with a broad group of coworkers makes you team-oriented and part of diverse professional relationships.
#5: Use Networking sites like LinkedIn instead of Social Media:
Social media has added a level of complexity to relationships in the workplace. Consequently, many professionals have difficulties connecting with colleagues online. However, it’s best to avoid engaging with your coworkers on social media.
Moreover, there are networking sites like LinkedIn built for workplace connectivity. So you can better delineate your personal and professional lives by joining them.
After that, you can have more control over your interactions with your coworkers. Additionally, you can ensure they stay separate from friends and family.
#6: Seek guidance under a Mentor and Network with others:
Networking is an inherent part of socializing at work. You can use it further by seeking a mentor figure who can offer specialized insight. Moreover, you can use their support and advice for progressing ahead in your career.
However, you may also find a mentor in a senior colleague or Manager who has experience in the field. So, it’s time you use your networking skills and grow further in your role.
#7: Use sincerity and honesty while socializing at work:
When socializing at work, make sure that you’re sincere and honest with your approach. Listen using your active listening skills for better and effective relationships with coworkers.
Additionally, pay attention to what others say and engage in polite conversation. Moreover, offer authentic advice and be civil in your interactions.
For example, greet your colleagues on a daily basis and wish them luck with projects. See if it makes a difference or offer genuine compliments to make a positive impression.
#8: Respect the perspectives and opinions of others:
Certainly, when you encounter differences in opinions, do not turn it into an apple of discord. Avoid interfering with someone’s political or personal matters and remain open to disagreements.
Note: Remember to be respectful of others’ perspectives even if you don’t agree with them. Maintain your professionalism in such interactions and recognize boundaries in socializing.
Practice tolerance when your coworkers’ perspectives don’t align with your cultural values.
#9: Establish trust within the process of socializing at work:
Establishing trust and respect in your relationships with colleagues requires your conscious effort. Therefore, if you don’t connect with your coworkers instantly, take time to form valuable relationships at work.
Additionally, invite someone else who might be having difficulty socializing at work. Get to know them genuinely to put them at ease. Moreover, avoid putting too much effort on your work relationships.
Certainly, have faith and trust in the process and focus on getting to know your colleagues. After that onward, build up your comfort levels with one another.
To sum up, if someone struggles with socializing, it’s always helpful to be friendly. To get started, saying “Hello“, smiling and being positive are equally important as being conversational.
Additionally, listening and being empathetic to others is necessary for responding appropriately. Moreover, it’s also good to give sincere, honest compliments to show others that they matter. Further, recognizing their ideas is also important.
Research states that people who interact more are more productive even if they spoke about work or something else. Moreover, social interactions with colleagues helps one network, trade knowledge and get to know the workplace better. After all, socialising is the first step to teamwork and teamwork is integral to success.