Getting along with your coworkers is one of the best ways you can reduce stress in the workplace and have a better workday. Getting to know your coworkers may seem like a monumental task, especially for those of us who are a little more on the introverted side — but the rewards that solid foundations at work bring are well worth the effort.

Benefits aside, getting to know your coworkers can be fun — you just have to know where to start.

Getting to know your coworkers | Group of cheerful business team applauding

1. Play Ice Breaker Games

When it comes to ways to have fun, games should always be somewhere on the list. There’s several ways you can make getting to know your coworkers into a fun activity for everyone. If you’re in a managerial position, try setting up times for some of these games:

  • Two Truths and a Lie: This game is easy to play and can be a great way to get to know the people you work with. Each person tells three quick stories or facts about themselves, two of them the truth and one being a lie. Those listening to the story have to try guessing which story is the lie. You can learn some really surprising things about your team this way, and it fosters a sense of community.
  • Deserted Island: Playing this game will give you a better understanding of how your coworkers’ minds function, and you’ll gain some insight into what they consider important. Each person gets to choose one thing they would bring with them if they were stuck on a deserted island and explain why they chose that item. This game can also be played in pairs.
  • Five Favorites: Simple concept, simple game. Have all of your coworkers name five of their favorite things. This gives everyone an opportunity to discover similar interests, and your coworkers have some new conversation points. Want to make the game more advanced or learn about what your team wants? Change the five favorites to something more professional, like five ways managers can motivate employees or five things that make a team work.

cookies

2. Sweeten The Deal

Whoever said “can’t buy me love” was mistaken, and probably never had a fresh, warm brownie – sorry, Paul McCartney. There’s truly nothing like baked goods fresh from the oven. Cookies, donuts and croissants – oh my, happiness is a warm bun.

  • Bringing in a little treat for everyone is a great way to show your team that you appreciate them, and they might return the favor.
  • Food is one subject that never fails to get people talking. Everyone has a favorite, and talking about your favorite breakfast items is a simple way to learn a little more about everyone you work with.

tying sneakers

3. Encourage Health

Sitting in an office all day isn’t the most conducive to a healthy lifestyle, and having others to exercise with always makes it easier to find motivation for your workout.

  • Start a walking group with your coworkers. Having someone to talk with will make moving fun, and you have plenty of time to get to know your coworkers.
  • Supporting each other and helping your team members stay motivated to reach their goals will build strong relationships.
  • Having a common goal to work towards helps your coworkers feel united.

Business group planning work in office

4. Sponsor a Charitable Event

Sponsoring a charitable event with your coworkers is a fantastic way to do some good and bond at the same time.

  • Finding a cause that you all support and banding together to volunteer your time is a perfect way to improve your relationships with your coworkers.
  • Consider doing a walkathon and combine charitable events with No. 5, encouraging health.

red car

5. Carpool

Come on, what’s more fun than sitting in traffic? Carpooling will save everyone a little money, and it’s much better for our environment.

  • Carpooling gives you time outside of a work environment to get to know your coworkers and develop a deeper bond.
  • Taking turns driving to work will help your coworkers feel that they can depend on each other, and riding in the car gives you the opportunity to jam to the radio. Who knew your coworkers had such interesting taste in music?

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6. Create Shared Memories

Creating opportunities for your team to make memories together will help them bond, new experiences will be fresher in their minds and the shared experience will be something they all have in common to talk about.

Instead of opting for team dinners which can get repetitive – and expensive – consider taking the team to a cooking class. Everyone gets to learn something new in a fun environment, and you’re forming memories together.

birthday cake

7. Celebrate Birthdays

Celebrating a birthday is a fun way to let your coworkers know you appreciate them, and there’s usually cake involved – win-win.

Remembering everyone’s birthday can be tough, but you can set up a calendar in the break room and have your coworkers add their birthday with a quick note about their favorite dessert so you know what to surprise them with!

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8. Potluck Lunch

Having all your coworkers bring their favorite dish is a great way to get a taste of everyone’s unique style, and who doesn’t love an excuse to eat?

Encourage coworkers to showcase their culture. Diversity in the workplace is so important, and food can be a great way to explore that.

talk it out

9. Talk It Out

OK, conflict resolution isn’t exactly fun – but it is an extremely important part of a happy work environment. If you feel like there’s some kind of conflict between you and a coworker, don’t let it fester – try to discuss it as soon as possible.

Not only does resolving the conflict mean you’ll have a happier workplace, it also gives you the opportunity to learn about your coworker and strengthen your relationship.

Try to avoid defensive or accusatory language like “You did/said,” and instead use “I” language such as “I feel.”

friends

10. Extend and Accept Invitations

Constantly snubbing your coworkers’ requests to spend time after work just doesn’t look good, and if you stop getting invites that’s probably the reason.

  • Spending time outside of work is important to building a solid relationship, and accepting an invitation out every once and a while won’t kill you.
  • Extending an invitation is just as important. Invite your coworker to have lunch with you or consider inviting their whole family to dinner. No relationship can work if effort is only coming from one side, so asking is just as important as being asked.

 

Regardless of how you choose to get to know your coworkers, your work environment will be a happier place because of it. Building strong and healthy relationships at work will create a team that works together to solve problems and work in an innovative way. Happy coworkers means a productive work environment that fosters drive and creativity – benefiting everyone in the long run.

 

How are you getting to know your coworkers? Share your tips and tales in the comments!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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