As I say when I teach The Science of Being Happy and Productive at Work: warm, quality relationships fuel happiness. Having friends at work is important. Investing in relationships is one of the best investments we can make for happiness-and therefore success–at work. Invest your time, attention, resources, communication, and energy in building warm quality relationships. The happiness you build in others will literally come back to you, spreading through mirror neurons.
Below are three research-supported strategies that can help you to socialize more at work, so that you build warm, quality relationships. The research suggests that when you do this you will also experience more happiness and therefore more productivity and engagement at work.
#1 – Make a Community Table at Lunch or Have a Watering Hole:
- Slide together most of the smaller lunch tables at work to provide at least one large community table where various people can gather. Research suggests happiness is largely social and by eating with others, you relieve stress, boost mood and improve brain function.
- Make a place where employees gather for food, snacks, a break, or comfortable place to sit, or even games and entertainment. Research suggests we are social creatures and by giving people a chance to connect it gives relationships, and therefore happiness, a chance to develop.
#2 – Take a Break Together or Go on a Walking One-on-One:
- Get away from your desk or wherever you do work for a few minutes, and instead talk with others. Research suggests that breaks relax and re-energize us, allowing us to bring out our best. The best breaks get us physical activity and real social contact.
- When meeting with another person, trying going for a walk rather than sitting inside. Research suggests you will think more clearly, remember more of the meeting, ease stress, and boost happiness.
#3 – Smile and Chat in the Halls:
- Smile! Smiling triggers the brain to feel happier. It might feel silly at first, but for most of us most of the time, it works.
- Communicate frequently in hallways and wherever unplanned meetings can happen. MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab found that best teams communicated informally as well as frequently.
If you’d like another way to social with your team while also learning more about the science of happiness, check out Choose Happiness @ Work.