How to bond with your colleagues

You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick the people you work with.

Even so, a positive relationship with your colleagues can make all the difference in the workplace.

If you get on well with those around you, chances are you’ll be happier, more enthusiastic and more likely to be productive and get results.

The best way to build relationships with those you work with? Get to know more about them and spend time together away from the office.

Here, we look at great bonding ideas for colleagues to do together that don’t have the cringe factor.

Get physical

Extra-curricular activities, such as ten-pin bowling or paintball, are great fun, promote team-work and provide some physical exercise all at the same time. Pent-up frustration you want to get rid of? This is the perfect chance to beat the boss at bowling or zap them with a paint pellet without having to worry about being handed your P45. But try not to get TOO competitive – the point is to have fun and get to know work-mates better.

Eat together

Whether it’s a birthday lunch for a colleague or a monthly meal after work, getting together with work-mates and having a bite to eat is a good way to get to know each other in a relaxed and informal setting. It’s also a better option than post-work drinks, where one glass of Pinot too many could result in having more than just a hangover to worry about the next day. Just remember to avoid speaking with your mouth full and avoid messy foods, such as spaghetti!

Team-building exercises

Ah, the dreaded team-building exercises! For some, these can be seen as embarrassing or a complete waste of time but they CAN be useful in certain workplaces – and they don’t have to involve ‘trust’ games or excessive props. Popular games include:

Salt and Pepper: The manager comes up with popular pairs, such as salt and pepper, Mickey and Minnie, boy and girl, etc and writes each word on a piece of paper. Each participant has a sheet of paper taped to their back and must find their pair by asking questions with yes or no answers. Once you find your pair, spend a couple of minutes getting to know each other by asking three questions each. Minimal props and minimal embarrassment!

Beach Ball Toss: The manager writes a question on each section of the beach ball. Participants stand in a circle and toss the ball to each other. The person who catches the ball has to introduce themselves to the group and answer the question closest to their pinky finger. Questions can be fun and informal or more serious and work-related, depending on the purpose of the exercise.

Field trips

If you’re a manager, why not organise a trip to a museum or local historical site for your staff? Again, it’s an informal setting, away from the work environment, and could help encourage quieter employees to open up and show their personality a bit more. Plus, staff get to learn something new, feel inspired and hopefully return to work the following day with renewed energy and some new-found friends in the office.

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