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How Socializing Can Strengthen A Multigenerational Workforce

May 28, 2018

The original version of this article was published on May 15, 2017.

We’ve previously looked at the various ways businesses and coworkers can take advantage of the multigenerational workforce. Though challenges do exist, as with just about any workforce, there are ways of building these various individuals into a strong and effective team. However, there is one aspect of strengthening this type of workforce that is rarely considered and often dismissed – the socializing aspect.

Some professionals are weary of too much socializing with colleagues, as are many managers. That kind of apprehension is somewhat understandable, but they are ignoring the many great benefits that can come from coworkers connecting outside of work. This is especially true with multigenerational offices. Those perceived differences between generations can start to feel more apparent if they are not given the chance to connect with each other. But when those more natural relationships start to form, it can improve the office in a variety of ways. So whether you’re a worker or manager, consider how socializing among coworkers can actually build a stronger workforce.

Improves efficiency.

How often do we talk about the importance of communication in the workplace? It is the key to ensuring the office is running as efficiently as possible. While communication can work on a strictly professional level, when friendlier and more personal connections are established, that communication becomes a whole lot easier. By having the occasional post-work hang-out, coworkers start to build those stronger connections which is then brought into work. It becomes easier for everyone to get on the same page about projects, new employees are brought up to speed quicker, details are hashed out in a more timely and productive manner. An easier flow of communication always means the office is running more efficiently. The age difference matter less and you start to see everyone working as a unit rather than individuals.

Allows for more openness.

It is not just efficient communication that makes a strong workforce but also honest communication. Honest communication helps to keep the quality of the work at its best as well as improving the professionals in the office. Constructive feedback and sharing of ideas is key for this, but it’s not always easy. When there’s a bit of unfamiliarity between coworkers, some people can be hesitant to offer feedback for fear it will be taken as an insult. On the other hand, sometimes feedback can come off as too negative if you don’t know the person giving it well enough. With an age gap between coworkers, preconceived opinions might exacerbate those reactions. More time spent among coworkers allows those tensions to be resolved and people become familiar with each others’ personal communication style. That understanding between professionals allows for respectful and helpful conversations to occur more frequently.

Helps inspire collaboration.

When coworkers are able to develop these more casual relationships with one another it often results in them feeling more comfortable with each other. This can account for more efficient communication as well as more organic collaboration. Without time together outside of work, it can take a long time for coworkers to become comfortable with each other to the point that they can freely work closely with each other. There certainly exists different approaches to work among the different generations and that can sometimes prevent collaboration. Socializing establishes that comfort zone earlier one, allowing for that collaboration to occur more naturally and, in most cases, yielding stronger work.

It’s healthy.

Happy workers are healthy workers. Studies have shown that socializing among coworkers leads to better work satisfaction and increased morale within the workplace, which in turn leads to better health for those employees. A workplace in which everyone operates on a strictly professional level at all times can feel cold and unwelcoming. It’s an environment that puts stress on employees. The same can be said of the offices that are segregated by age. It’s ostracizing and makes it a job you don’t have much attachment to. Forming friendships and relationships at work makes it a happier, enjoyable environment without having to sacrifice productivity.

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