Things for teams to try: Improving Friendships at work

Friendships at work can’t be forced, but there are tried and tested ways to help bonds form.

3 Friendships at work - team

1. Make space for friendships to flourish

Create space in small increments to help friendships develop.

How to do it:

  • Discuss what spaces you have in your working day that could be used as ways to connect.
  • Use opportunities like a quick tea / coffee break, so everyone can find time to fit them in.
  • Get to know your colleagues - talk about families, passions and pastimes, or anything else that could help friendships form and strengthen.

2. Share what you enjoy

Sharing what you enjoy doing allows you to learn more about colleagues and build stronger ties. It can be especially good for remote workers who miss out on those water cooler moments.

How to do it:

  • Share links to books, articles, and podcasts with colleagues through your intranet or other internal comms platforms.
  • Try building a physical library with real books that colleagues can bring in and swap.

3. Throw a summer or winter party

Get to know each other better by connecting as people, not just colleagues.

How to do it:

  • Mix things up so you do activities that appeal to different people and can involve everyone - try theatre trips, quizzes, and fundraisers.
  • Have a suggestions box so people can add their ideas for the next get together year round.
  • Take and share pictures of the events to help create collective memories of shared experiences.

4. Dinner our reward scheme

We often want to acknowledge a colleague who has been especially diligent about their work. But we rarely take a moment to think about who supports them to work harder, longer or in a more focused way.

How to do it:

  • Reward people with a voucher to dine out
  • Encourage them to use the voucher to eat with their colleagues who have supported them so that the gratitude can be shared even further

5. Enrich your conversations

Enriching conversations at work can lift and carry us in the same way that conversations with our nearest and dearest do.

How to do it:

  • Try sharing how you really feel by giving a status update (or say how you feel on a 1-5 happiness scale!)
  • Instead of asking "how are you?", try giving more context in your question to get more back in response. E.g. "Given how yesterday went, how are you feeling today?" Or "What's the latest with you - what feels good, what doesn't?"
  • And when you’re asked "how are you?", try to give more back in your response than the standard "fine" or "okay" too.