Monday 30th July is International Day of Friendship. The day was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly, on the basis that ‘friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.’
Many of us spend the majority of our days at work, and a huge proportion of our time with colleagues. In the 2017 Friends in the Workplace survey from Wildgoose, almost 58% of participants said having a best friend at work made their job more enjoyable. Further to this, respondents shared that having a close friendship at work made them feel more creative (23%), and more than 40% said they felt more productive as a result. 11% said they didn’t have a best friend at work – but, ideally, would like one.
To mark International Day of Friendship, we’ve listed four ways that you can celebrate the event and encourage friendship in your workplace.
Share your skills
If you work in a large organisation, the chances are there are many people you don’t know very well – or perhaps you’ve never met some of your colleagues in the departments you don’t have much crossover with.
To remedy this, organise a skills-swap or department exchange. You could invite a few colleagues from different departments to come and join you for a few hours (or a day), to get a better understanding of what you do. In return, you could head over to their workspace and find out more about what they’re working on at the moment. It’s a great way to get to know others who you might not work with every day, as well as finding out more about how the organisation runs at every level.
Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness (or performed one yourself)? Harvard Professor and positive psychologist Shawn Achor argues that putting happiness first is the key to success – and performing random acts of kindness is central to this.
You could encourage kindness in your workplace by performing a few random acts of your own. If you’re struggling to get started, download our free 30 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas guide today.
Reach out to new colleagues
Being the latest addition to a company can be a daunting experience for many of us – there’s so much to learn, there’s a whopping list of names and faces to remember, and everyone has pre-existing friendships.
Has a new recruit joined your organisation recently? If so, could you reach out to them to help them settle in? Even if they’re not working within your team, you could offer to show them around, introduce them to other departments, and let them know that you’re happy to help them with any questions they might have. You could also check in with them after their first couple of weeks, to find out how they’re settling in and if there’s anything they’re struggling with. Extending this kindness to a new recruit could make all the difference during a stressful time, and help them to feel welcomed into the organisation.
Do something good
If you want to bring your colleagues together to do something good, why not organise a charity or volunteering event? To get an idea of how many colleagues would want to participate, send a company-wide email asking people to express their interest. In your message, you could also ask for ideas on the charities or causes your co-workers would be most interested in helping. When you’ve received their responses, you can then decide together on the charity you’ll contact to offer your time, skills or fundraising to. Once you’ve settled on the cause you’ll be supporting, organise an in-office event to help raise funds for your chosen charity – or get your new volunteer team together to head out for a day of hands-on work. We all know that doing good feels good – and it’s a great reason to reach out to colleagues and get together more often.
How will you celebrate International Day of Friendship this year? We’d love to hear all about it – let us know via Twitter, or in the comments section below.
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