To mark the International Day of Friendship, we’re taking a closer look at the pros of having pals at work you can lean on, laugh with and learn from.
Whether you’re the new kid on the block or part of the furniture, getting to know people beyond the work stuff has so many meaningful benefits. It can improve wellbeing, productivity, motivation, and employee retention rates. It can help people to grow and learn new skills and not to mention, it’s just more fun that way!
But when your calendar is crammed and your to-do list is long, it can be easy to go days or even weeks without chatting to your colleagues about their real lives – their hobbies and passions, families and summer plans, or stories and struggles.
So settle in, grab the popcorn and check out our stories and suggestions for building strong friendships with colleagues.
I’ve got skills, they’re multiplying
Swapping and sharing skills with your colleagues is a great conversation starter and will enrich your knowledge and understanding of different job roles and give people insight into what you do too.
Whether you send each other links to interesting articles and helpful tutorial videos, or you wander over to each other’s workspaces to learn how to use a new illustration tool, skills sharing can help you get to know people at all levels of the organisation, collaborate and come up with new and innovative ideas together.
At Alive, we’re constantly absorbing each other’s knowledge. From Cam and Ally sharing their latest research on accessibility tools, to our design team working their magic using a new programme, we all understand how valuable collaboration is.
“I feel like I learn something from someone virtually every day – even while we’ve been working remotely.”
It’s so important that working from home doesn’t stop us from finding inspiration. At Alive, we’ve created a slack channel (the platform we use to communicate), dedicated to sharing and learning new things.
Andy says, “It’s my go-to for so many topics. Having it there ready to rock and roll means we can keep on top of design trends and share things that will help with our workflow. Laura is always showing me cool animation styles to work into our next projects.”
You’ve got a friend in me
Being the newbie can be daunting, especially if you joined a new team during the pandemic and haven’t actually met anyone face-to-face yet.
So ask yourself, when was the last time I reached out to someone?
Checking in with a funny meme or offer of support can make the world of difference. It’s about making people feel welcome, comfortable and confident, especially if your organisation has a tight-knit community where friendships between colleagues are already established.
Our latest addition to the Alive team, Lauren says,
“Starting a new job remotely is really difficult, but everyone at Alive has made me feel welcome and valued – often it’s the funny stories and morning meeting banter that makes me feel like I belong. I’m so excited for when we can all get together properly!”
I’ll be there for you, ‘cus you’re there for me too
Considering how many hours a day we spend at work, whether that’s from home or in the office, having the support of your colleagues can be absolutely critical in times of need.
Whether you need advice, a shoulder to cry on or an easy distraction, your colleagues are often the people that simply get it. Being there for one another helps build trust and long-lasting bonds that more often than not, blossom into wonderful friendships.
“At Alive, we understand that everyone’s human and we all have our ups and downs. When life gets tough, I know that Alive will always have my back. They brighten up my day, make me smile and they’re always there to support me without judgment. It’s a culture I’m proud to say I’m a part of,” says Ellie.
It’s crucial that we support each other outside of work too.
“Family matters at Alive. When we needed a bit of extra support, the team were there for my children as well as me. Andy and Laura shared their passion for all things illustration with my daughter Evie, teaching her drawing and calligraphy after school. And she still loves it now.”
Kickass with kindness
Kindness brings people together and is key to making them feel valued and cared for. Sometimes it’s the small things that can turn someone’s day around, so tell your colleagues when they’ve done a great job, say thank you and check in regularly to see how they’re doing.
Friendship is at the heart of Alive and we care deeply about everyone we work with. There’s different dynamics between different members of the team and we’re always willing to help each other out.
“Being one of the more senior members of the team (in both senses of the word) means passing on some helpful things I’ve picked up along the way. From helping Andy set up the styles in an InDesign document, to showing him how to programme the radio stations in his car, kindness is all about being a mate and helping out where you can.”
Stayin’ Alive, stayin’ Alive
Let’s not forget that at Alive there’s nothing we love more than taking the mick and poking fun at each other! Whether it’s Loralie’s ‘jobettes’ (her new word for the little bits and bobs that need doing) or Stan’s obsession with running everywhere, someone is always the butt of the joke – especially on a Friday afternoon when we’ve cracked open a cider. But when push comes to shove, we’ve got each other’s backs. We’ve created a culture where we can support, encourage and celebrate one another and channel this into producing work we’re really proud of.
So, to our fellow communicators and creatives – reach out to a colleague, go for a drink after work, and check in with each other because you never know, your work pals might just become your friends for life.