“Water cooler talk” gets a pretty bad rap. More often than not, we try our best to avoid the kinds of situations where we are forced to awkwardly talk about things like the weather when we just want to grab some coffee or enjoy a moment alone in the break room.
Even so, socializing is a great (if not very important) tool when it comes to a successful workplace environment. To show you what we mean, we are going to give you a few reasons why socializing is so important, from why employees should do it, to why employers should let their employees do it.
For today, we’ll talk about why it is important for coworkers to socialize with one another, and what to avoid when you do. Take a look below:
3 reasons why you should socialize with your coworkers
- Networking. Simply put, socializing helps you to network with likeminded individuals, giving you the opportunity to branch out and meet others who may introduce you to people who can take you in the right direction, possibly the next big step in your career.
- Establishing yourself. Following from our point above, socializing is a great way to establish yourself among your co-workers. If people get to know you, then chances are they’ll feel more comfortable around you and put a certain amount of trust in you. In turn, this puts you in good faith with your co-workers who may just be your top references should you choose to go for that promotion/new position, or move on to another company.
- It makes you a better communicator. Socializing is also a great way to hone your communication skills. Effective communication skills are an essential part of working in a business environment. Simply stepping out of your shell and talking to your coworkers will make things much easier when it comes to working with clients and customers.
Things to avoid when socializing
Socializing is great, but there are a few things to be careful here. Below, we’ve listed just a few. Take a look:
- Getting drunk. There is nothing wrong with going out for an after work cocktail or beer, or indulging at a holiday party. In fact, getting to know your co-workers off the clock is a great way to unwind and learn a little more about their personal lives. However, it’s best to avoid overdoing it on the alcohol. Not only do you run the risk of saying or possibly doing something you know would be inappropriate, it also sends the message to your fellow coworkers and upper management that you are irresponsible–something no employer wants to know.
- Gossiping. Another thing to avoid is negative comments or gossip about fellow coworkers. Not only is it unfair to the coworker you’re gossiping about, it also sends the message to the other coworkers around you that they may not be safe to tell you any secrets, even going as far as excluding you from their conversations or after work gatherings.
Check back tomorrow, when we’ll give you our top reasons why employers should let their employees socialize. In the meantime, how do you socialize at work? Let us knows by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!