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Small Talk

Interacting With Coworkers: Why You Shouldn’t Skip The Small Talk In The Office

Posted in Culture

Author: Tyler Goecker

In the past, like many other working adults, I was a quiet person at work. I went through the motions of the workday, workweek, and then a month and year went by. The routine of it all can make it easy to show up to work, say hi in the mornings with a head nod and small wave, leave for lunch, and then before you know it, you’re giving a half-hearted, “Have a Great Night” to your co-workers on the way out, keeping your fingers crossed that you don’t get roped into a conversation that keeps you from getting home as soon as possible!

I recently decided to break from my everyday routine and started to get to know my coworkers outside of the office. By doing so, I immediately saw benefits inside the office. I am talking about socializing on a personal level. Whether it is meeting up for a drink after work, attending a co-workers kid’s birthday on the weekend, participating in a team group text to give insight into your everyday life, or attending company events outside of the office. While team-building events are great and have benefits,  in my experience, many employees will revert to the mindset of them being “work”, and are not going to be as open to the idea of being themselves and letting their guard down like they would in a more casual environment.

My “A-Ha” Experience

Ever since making a more purposeful effort to connect with my coworkers, the feeling of being just a number that goes to work, does their job, and then goes home has been replaced with the feeling of being a part of a team. I have found comfort in knowing I have others that know my struggles and can help me problem solve. By offering each other support, we are all able to focus on the same end goal and be as successful as possible for our company. When that team success is achieved, it is made up of a lot of smaller individual achievements along the way. When reaching a goal, it feels better to be able to celebrate as a team as well!

The Benefit of Social Connection

In today’s working world, especially in insurance, employee turnover is increasing year over year. A recent Forbes article dives into the benefits of social connections between co-workers. The article names numerous benefits, and they all make sense to me as great ways to lower company turnover. Being happier and healthier were two of their first-listed benefits. These two benefits really resonated with me as I reflected on my recent efforts to get to know my coworkers outside of work. Since building positive personal relationships with my colleagues, I have noticed I am much happier about work, have a better mindset and more energy to tackle the workweek.

In the article, Forbes suggests ways companies can promote a culture of connectedness. I had to smile while reading the suggestions, knowing J.M. Wilson practices many of the suggestions already.

It’s Part of the Culture

JM Wilson wants all associates to feel welcomed from the first day they step into the office. One way we promote positive relationships from the start is encouraging associates to take out new associates to lunch and dinner during their first couple weeks at the office. This allows them to get to know one another and the new associate to get a feel for our culture. 

We host a variety of potlucks throughout the year and our chili cook-off is one of the most anticipated events. We also do many other activities after working hours like happy hours with our company representatives and attend baseball and hockey games together. 

It is simply a part of the company culture and  JM Wilson does a great job at creating an environment for co-workers to be more sociable.  

What about You?

Do you keep things social at work? Or do you prefer to stay in your cube until 5:00 rolls around? If you are the latter, I challenge you to make a more conscious effort to connect with a coworker this week. After all, we all need to work to survive and support our families, so why not do whatever possible to be as successful we can be, and to make work as enjoyable as possible?

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