Creating a Work Space that Brings People Together

Her name was Ima, Ima Fish. She was a Betta that I got when my son was four months old and I decided being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t for me. So, when my old boss called me and asked me if I wanted to come back part-time, I jumped at the chance. I bought Ima to put on my desk at the office. I had that little fish on that desk for five years! And everyone in the office knew Ima. If I was out of the office, I knew someone else was taking care of it, I didn’t even have to ask. Coworkers would stop by my desk daily to see how Ima was, even before they’d check to see how I was. Ima became the office fish. 

Employees spend a large portion of their time at work, away from their families. Coworkers often become a second family. So how can employers create a work space that helps to bring people together? 

  1. It starts at the top. Leadership can help create an environment that brings people together by making connections with those who work for them. Get to know your employees, what makes them tick outside of work. Do they have families? What are their hobbies? Where do they see themselves in the future? When you check in with employees, don’t jump straight into work, ask them how their weekend was, if they have plans for the holidays, just take a few minutes to chat and get to know more about them. By doing this, you not only build a better connection with your team members but you are encouraging them to do the same with each other. 
  1. A lot of work and a little play. Allow for some down time at work. You’d be surprised at how that may actually improve productivity and it will definitely boost morale. Early in my career I worked for a company that had an office breakfast EVERY Friday. And it was employee provided. There was a sign-up sheet each quarter for those who wanted to participate and a schedule was made of what Friday you had to provide breakfast. It was great, people loved to participate and every Friday the entire office of about 50 employees came through the breakroom to grab breakfast. You could bring whatever you wanted and there was always an abundance of food. Good food! We even had one employee who when it was his turn, would bring his griddle from home and make made-to-order breakfast sandwiches. And while you were waiting on your sandwich, you’d get to have the best conversations with him. 
  1. Create welcoming spaces for connection and collaboration. One of the worst feelings for me is walking into a sterile work space, devoid of color, personalization, and warmth. It’s not inviting. Create spaces where employees want to be, that inspires them. A little décor can go a long way. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Add a few pictures, some fake or real plants, some color. Take that bright white break room and turn it into a space employees want to sit and enjoy lunch or a quick break. A little paint can go a long way to making a space more welcoming, so get rid of that bright white! And while you’re at it, take away the clutter too. It creates stress and don’t we all have enough of that these days? 

What can you do to make your work space bring people together? 


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Lorrie Coffey