I recently read a reader’s question asking why he was getting the cold shoulder from co-workers. It turns out that he had been refusing his co-workers’ invitations for lunch, happy hour, and other social gatherings, and instead heading straight home from the office to his family. This situation reflects how not schmoozing with co-workers after work often has a negative impact on how you get along with associates in the office. Co-workers can feel snubbed, and these negative feelings will often taint professional relationships. My advice is to accept a couple of invitations for after-work socializing each month. By getting to know co-workers outside of work, you will develop rich relationships that can actually help improve your career.Here are some additional suggestions for socializing with co-workers outside of the office:
Some companies, especially large offices, will gather a group of employees together for charity events, including walk-a-thons. Check with your HR manager to see if any events that are planned interest you. Or, if your company does not sponsor charity events, seek our charitable causes and ask office mates if they would be interested in also participating. Volunteering your time for a good cause, while banding with co-workers for an organization that you would like to support outside of the office, is a great idea for improving professional relationships and your career.
Pick-up games and corporate teams are great ways to both blow off steam from work and spend time with your co-workers in a fun way. Bowling, golf, and basketball are three popular sports that many companies have teams for. Check with your HR manager to see if there are any teams that you can join. If not, consider asking around the office to see if anyone would be interesting in organizing a Game Night.
Carpooling is a great way to help protect the environment and socialize with co-workers at the same time. Ask your HR manager to put together a company- or department-wide list of who lives near whom, if your company does not already have such a program in place.
These are just a few ideas for how to spend time with co-workers at the office. At the end of the day, you should take it as a compliment that your associates want to get to know you better outside of work.