Work socials and the importance of employee bonding

Sometimes the value of work socials for employee bonding can be overlooked as being simply an after-work drink or two. But the truth is, crossing work-life into social life has real benefits for company culture and employee contentment.

Research shows that during our lifetime, we’ll spend an average of 90,000 hours at work – equating to one-third of our entire lives. Therefore, making that time enjoyable by creating an environment that fosters connection, communication and engagement with our fellow colleagues is incredibly important. Plus, it can also go a long way in boosting business too.  A report from Harvard Business Review found that well-bonded teams have 106% more energy and 50% higher productivity levels whilst at work.

At The Brew, we’ve built the foundations of our coworking spaces on that very principle. Ensuring that alongside desks and meeting rooms, we have open spaces that encourage conversation and collaboration between our members and their employees.

So welcome to our guide on the importance of employee bonding. It outlines how work socials can boost connection and engagement within your team. As well as 10 different ideas to inspire your work socials – whether you’re someone who works in-person with your colleagues or does so remotely.

 

What is employee bonding?

Employee bonding is about learning more about your colleagues in an open environment. It helps co-workers to connect, builds mutual respect and can lead to a positive work culture with strong, effective teams. In fact, this is becoming an ever-more important factor for those looking for work too, especially in millennials – with a staggering 75% putting a positive work environment at the top of their considerations.  

And whilst employee bonding is best instigated by work socials, it doesn’t always need to be formalised or structured. Instead, employee bonding can happen daily. It’s about creating a space where people feel safe to express their authentic selves and find common ground with colleagues over more than just the weekly budget reports!

 

What are the benefits of work socials for employee bonding?

So now that you know more about what employee bonding is, you might be wondering about its tangible benefits…

  1. Increase creative ideas

It’s no secret that when people feel respected and valued, they feel more comfortable sharing their ideas more freely, just as they would around friends. In turn, this open environment can lead to an influx of more creative ideas. Your team will feel more encouraged to think outside of the box without worrying about judgement.

  1. Boost productivity

Employee bonding and work socials can have a significant impact on productivity levels. As teams feel more connected to their role, seeing it as more than just a job – they tend to also become more invested in helping the business to achieve its goal. In fact, research by ExpertMarket in 2021 found that companies with connected employees see productivity increase by 20-25%.

  1. Help increase retention

Did you know a whopping 47% of people actively looking for a new job pinpoint company culture as the main reason for wanting to leave their current role? Such a staggering statistic only further highlights the positive impact that employee bonding and work socials can have on business retention rates. Which in turn, will boost profitability by cutting the yearly recruitment costs.

  1. Improve wellbeing and reduce absences

By creating an environment where people actually want to come to work – you’ll be directly playing a role in your team’s overall well-being. Boosting their mental and emotional health will have an impact that’s felt way beyond the office walls, helping people to feel much more content in their everyday life. Indeed, Harvard Business Review found that employee bonding and engagement helped 74% of people surveyed to feel less stress and in turn, resulted in 13% fewer sick days.

  1. Build a better culture

Alongside the business benefits of work socials and employee bonding, it’s also vital that we don’t overlook the positives of a happy company culture. Having a culture where people want to get to know their colleagues – even if it’s just down to whether or not they take sugar in their coffee – is really important in helping someone to feel valued and seen. And since work is where we spend a lot of our time, having that supportive environment during a difficult personal time, could be a real lifeline to many.

Now to put all of that into practice, creating work socials that foster employee bonding. You can get started with one of our 10 tried and tested ideas and begin building a company culture you’re proud to be a part of.

 

5 work socials for employee bonding in-person

 

  1. Monthly meetups

Set a date each month for a get-together. You can make it fun and engaging by creating a rota for who sets the location or activity. And whether it’s a meal, a few drinks or something more adventurous – give people plenty of notice. Perhaps for the first work social, set the time within working hours but towards the end of the day. In doing so, that should help boost attendance and show the team the business commitment to employee bonding.

  1. Sports Days

Be conscious of the fact not everyone drinks alcohol. Especially in the UK, it can be easy to rely on a pub or bar as the setting for an employee bonding work social. Be considerate that it’s not everyone’s style, plus the fact there are other activities such as sports days that foster engagement and teamwork a lot better than a pint! And if traditional sport isn’t for everyone, an egg and spoon race certainly can be, in one guise or another!

  1. Take up some culture

One of the best things about living in London is the vast variety of culture available to soak up every evening across the city. Whether it’s a comedy gig or an open mic night, an art exhibition or a new play in one of the Capital’s countless theatres, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, there are often deals to be had on group bookings, especially on weeknights, so do some digging and get your team out enjoying some culture on the next work social!

  1. Ready, Set, Bake!

The TV show Bake Off has inspired many millions over its umpteen series, and its influence has been felt in workforces across the country too. Coinciding with its weekly broadcast, teams all over the UK began their own hearty competition – bringing in their baked goods for colleagues to try before passing friendly judgement and scoring to decide an overall office baking champ!  After all, what better way to create employee bonding than with cake!

  1. Give back to the community

Work socials for employee bonding don’t have to be all about the internal business community either. Instead, why not create an activity that’s centred around others in the local area, it could be anything from helping the homeless to volunteering at locally run initiatives. Research what’s out there and get your team involved in the greater good!

 

 

5 work socials for employee bonding remotely

 

  1. Video first

It might sound simple but try to make a conscious effort to put your camera on during video calls. Seeing someone goes a long way in building a connection. It’ll also have a positive impact on you too – allowing you to feel more engaged during a day spent at home behind a screen!

  1. Team lunch

Doing things virtually doesn’t have to be radically different to what you’d do in person. Schedule weekly lunches whereby rather than going off to the kitchen, team members dine together, virtually! It’s a great way of creating space for conversation that doesn’t have to focus on work, and therefore fosters the right kind of environment for employee bonding.

  1. Cocktail (or mocktail) classes

Another work social that can be done on rotation; choose a person each week to host a cocktail or mocktail class via Zoom. Provide the recipe in advance, allowing the participants to gather the ingredients, and then together put your best mixologist skills to the test. Once prepared, enjoy the drinks over great conversation and arrange whose turn it is next!

  1. Personable meetings

This might sound like forced fun, but it really does boost genuine employee bonding. Try beginning a few meetings each week with a personal exchange between colleagues. You can start the conversation as an ‘icebreaker’ asking questions about what people are currently reading, or what they did over the weekend. Making a focused effort to include more casual conversation in virtual meetings will help develop a connection between employees.

  1. Talk for the sake of talking!

When working remotely, interactions between colleagues can feel restricted to scheduled meetings only. Instead, why not set up a dedicated chat – one where the focus is talk for talking’s sake! This way, whether someone needs a quick fact check or a review of the latest TV drama, there’s always an open dialogue outside of work meetings, just as it would happen in the office.

 

So that’s that! Your guide to why employee bonding is crucial in creating a great culture and ten great ideas to start organising your next work socials.

Don’t forget, if you need a coworking setting designed specifically to help boost your employee bonding efforts – then look no further than The Brew. Across each of our central London locations, we have everything you and your workforce need to communicate, connect, and collaborate in your daily business operations.