Enjoying the people you work with can improve your health, attitude, and life.
Forming strong bonds with your coworkers is one of the fastest ways to improve your morale at work.
In fact, one meta-analysis of 58 studies from over 15 countries on the subject found that the stronger a person’s social network in the workplace, the better their overall health and wellness.
Your manager is probably always on the lookout for “team building” event ideas to bring your staff together.
While grabbing a drink after work is often the first thought when creating a tight-knit work team, there are some pitfalls to the traditional happy hour approach.
The Best Way To Bond With Coworkers
So how do most professionals form close relationships at work?
For many, the answer is found in the leather booth of a local bar during happy hour.
It’s true that consuming moderate amounts of alcohol during happy hour increases social bonding between people and stimulates longer conversations.
Unfortunately, there can be negative consequences of relying on alcohol to soften the awkward edges and lighten the mood when trying to buddy up to your cubicle mates.
For one thing, once happy hour becomes the singular “watering hole” where people let their guard down, it can make it difficult to bond in other situations where alcohol is not involved.
But more importantly, drink specials during happy hour can actually lead to overindulging and unhealthy behavior patterns.
So if the link between happy hour drinking behavior and negative outcomes is so strong, what can you substitute for that mojito while still making friends in your department? Here are four “happy hour” remix options to try.
Take A Fitness Class Together
While getting sweaty on a spin bike next to your boss might not sound like your first choice for a good time, there’s actually good reason to choose exercise as a form of team building in lieu of alcohol.
One study in the UK found that 6 out of 10 people who exercised during their workday found a noticeable improvement in their time management skills, mental performance and ability to meet deadlines on days that they exercised at work. On top of the improved productivity, they got along better with their coworkers on days when they exercised at work.
In addition to being more patient and tolerant toward your coworkers, exercising as a group reduces stress far more than individual workouts, sometimes by as much as 26%.
Workplace massage turns your ordinary office environment into a refreshing mid-week getaway.
Scheduling an afternoon of chair or table massage at the office can reduce stress and increase productivity in the workplace, in some cases even reducing measurable stress indicators like blood pressure.
Rather than trying to squeeze a regular massage into your personal calendar, forward this article to your boss as a gentle hint that booking professional on-site massage could be just what they need for a healthier, happier team.
Have A Walking Meeting
If you want to join the leagues of creative masterminds like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, give walking meetings a try.
Taking your meeting on the road is a quick way to increase creative thinking and open up the free flow of ideas, according to research.
You can assign someone to record the conversation on their phone and a transcription can be created later from the audio file, removing the need for a note-taker.
Walking meetings stack all your important tasks together, providing you with coworker bonding, outdoor stimulation, screen-free time, and fitness all in one. It’s hard to argue with a reinvented “happy hour” as healthy as that!
Volunteer As A Group
Choosing a local charity or nonprofit to partner with can be an excellent way to form bonds and support your local community at the same time.
Whether you’re planting trees at a local park, doing after-school tutoring at an elementary school, or repainting a building, there are so many ways for your office to leave its mark in your neighborhood.
Speak with your manager about their community involvement plans, and if you have a cause that’s close to your heart, volunteer to rally a team of co-workers to represent the office as a group.
Reinvent Your “Happy Hour” Today
Now that you’ve got plenty of ideas, it’s time to pitch a reinvented “happy hour” to your management.
It should be a guaranteed win with your boss: you ask for more bonding opportunities with your co-workers, and they get a healthier, “happier” crew of employees in return.
What’s not to love about that?