The importance of creating a bonded community explained
A new survey about work socials has revealed that 54% of UK office workers believe that socials are crucial for building strong peer relationships and nurturing a positive work environment.
The survey, conducted by Just Eat for Business, asked office workers how often their organisation holds work socials, what aspects they enjoy the most and least about these events, and how important they are for fostering productivity and a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Most employees believe that work socials are essential for helping them communicate with their colleagues. Without them, they might struggle to break the ice before asking for support or collaborating during the working week – especially when working remotely.
Forty-six percent of UK office workers enjoy work socials due to the opportunity to socialise with their colleagues in a non-professional setting.
A further 37% of workers enjoy the downtime from work and having the opportunity to relax and have fun at office parties and work socials. Thirty-seven percent enjoy the free food and drinks, while 25% enjoy finishing the working day earlier.
Of the survey respondents, 39% would like their organisation to schedule more work socials – for example, a team-building excursion, after-work drinks, or a catered lunch.
For 27% of workers, office parties are not considered to be a time for team-building activities as this can restrict socialisation. Other less favourable aspects were:
- The obligation to attend (27%)
- Commuting late (23%)
- Office politics (22%)
The survey also revealed that most organisations only hold two team events a year, with the Christmas Party being the most common reason for doing so.
Robin Dunbar, Psychologist at the University of Oxford, commented: “This whole process of creating a bonded community depends on engagement in various social activities – such as eating together – and that just creates a sense of belonging.
“Regular work socialisation has huge knock-on consequences for your physical and mental well-being, by virtue of forming friendships and fostering a sense of company loyalty.”
Mark Ephgrave, Managing Director at Just Eat for Business, said: “It’s no secret that work socials are a great way for colleagues to build connections and break the ice, but it’s possible that employers don’t realise just how crucial they are for fostering a friendly work environment.
“Improving company culture has been a key focal point for many over the last two years, and providing regular opportunities to socialise – such as a catered-for lunch or after-work dinner – is an easy way to promote socialisation in a positive and professional context.”