6 Ways to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Work BFFs — Whether You're In the Office or Working From Home
This past year has changed the way we work: Some companies have gone completely remote, while others have had to navigate a hybrid world where some employees work in person and others at home. Zoom fatigue is setting in. Yes, we're reluctant to say goodbye to those tie-dye sets and mid-day showers, but those once effortless desk-side chats are starting feel a bit intimidating. We're all searching for a refresh to accommodate this new in-between way of working.
That's why we've laid out a few ways to ease back into the social scene at work: to remove the awkwardness, whether you're meeting online or in person. So if you're starting to work a few days from the office or continuing to work remotely for the foreseeable future, keep scrolling to see ideas for turning those once strictly-professional relationships into blossoming friendships.
Work Up a Team Sweat
One of the joys of working in the office is becoming close with people in your desk pod. If you're missing that quality time with your work bestie, try joining a sports league and extending the invite to the entire team. It gives everyone an opportunity to think about something other than work, all while fostering a sense of camaraderie. But if you were someone who dreaded middle-school mile, don't worry. Recreational leagues welcome people of all fitness levels — so everyone from your gym-obsessed coworker to your work bestie who doesn't know the rules will have a good time. Plus, they usually involve plenty of eating and drinking after the game. See if your company already has established leagues. If not, there are countless social sports leagues — kickball, softball, soccer, dodgeball — in cities across the country. Let the games begin!
Play Hooky For a Good Cause
Taking a volunteer day is a win-win: you can enjoy "out-of-office" bonding time with your coworkers and give back to the community. Whether it's running to raise awareness for a cause you care about or working on a community-backed farm, you can find an initiative that aligns with your team's values. Bonus: your company might even offer paid time off for volunteer days (!!). Check your employer's policy, then schedule a midweek bonding session with your team.
It’s 5 O’Clock at the Office
If your team happens to be in the office on the same day, indulge in a mixer. Rather than going to a bar for happy hour (and spending your hard-earned money on basic well drinks), bring the bar to the office kitchen instead. Make sure there's a little something for everyone — wine, beer, liquor — and a few fun mixers like Ocean Spray® Cran-Tropical™. Better yet, whip up big-batch cocktails so your coworkers don't have to wait in line to pour a refill.
For those teams who are still stuck at home, try a socially-distant meet up at a local park instead. Whether it's a refreshing mocktail or even a flavored seltzer, everyone has the option to bring their drink of choice. Just pick up some snacks, a blanket or two, and you're good to go.
Avoid the Sad Desk Lunch
This may seem easier said than done (who doesn't love a mindless TikTok scroll on their break?), but eating lunch away from your computer, whether you're at the office or at home, can foster a healthy separation between work and leisure. It can be as small as moving your break to the kitchen, grabbing a wine glass, and pouring a custom mocktail made with sparkling water and Ocean Spray® Cran-Raspberry™. A refreshing drink is one surefire way to add some balance into your routine.
If you're working at the office, try chatting with people outside of your pod or meeting a new employee at a restaurant during lunch hour. Use a simple icebreaker, like complimenting a coworker's outfit, or talking about yours in a way that addresses the awkwardness of re-learning to dress head on. Bringing yummy treats for the communal space is also always a great idea as well.
Walk and Talk
Instead of reserving a conference room for your next meeting, opt for a walk in a nearby park. Who wouldn't pass up an opportunity to leave the dark, cold office tower? For those working from home, take your conference call over the phone. It's an overall serotonin booster; you can get some steps in and enjoy the fresh air, while getting some work done.
The casual setting makes meetings feel less intimidating and encourages collaboration. You can start the conference by asking a coworker how they are doing. It's a small act of kindness that can brighten up their day and build a solid workplace relationship.
Become the Resident Office Bartender
Want to be the MVP of the office? Keep a mini fridge at your desk filled with the team's favorite beverages for everyone to enjoy. Whether it's flavored sparkling water, a 6-pack of Ocean Spray® Cran-Pineapple™, or bottled cold brew, having a selection of refreshing drinks on demand will help any workday feel more enjoyable. When someone stops by to pick out a beverage, don't hesitate to take a moment and indulge in the latest celeb gossip.