Bonding with coworkers enriches the work day, helps us produce better work, and keeps us energized and excited to get in the office every day. I recently started working at Foraker Labs and have noticed a profound difference at this job, compared to all of my previous ones. There is a strong emphasis put on teamwork and creating great working relationships.
Here are some creative ways we use to get to know our coworkers:
WE GRAB SUSHI!
Team dinners are a great way to enhance colleague relationships. If you learn something new about your colleagues outside of work, it makes collaborating at work much more relaxed and enjoyable, since you now have a better connection with that person. Go grab some fun finger food like sushi or pizza.
WE PAIR… A LOT
Two heads are better than one! Foraker encourages pairing between all disciplines: Developers, Designers, UX Engineers, Project Managers, etc. Pairing helps our work become more efficient and keeps us motivated to move through quality ideas quickly, since we don’t want to waste the other person’s precious time. Pairing is also great for catching one another’s mistakes, which in turn generates a higher caliber of work. Plus, you may even get to learn some cross-discipline tips! Just the other day, I learned some commands in Terminal from Kyle, which I probably would never have touched on my own. I just might actually brave the scary Terminal world now that it’s slightly more familiar.
WE LUNCH & LEARN
What a great idea! Foraker provides free lunches every Wednesday, so long as someone from the company volunteers to present on a topic of their choice. It’s a nice break in the day to learn something new about one of your fellow coworkers and find out what their personal interests are. It also gives people practice presenting and helps them feel more comfortable speaking in front of a group. My first experience of Lunch & Learn was from one of our newer, Junior Developers, Laura. The topic was “Twerking.” I’ve also learned about how to use a nail gun, the snakes of Colorado, surfing, video game consoles, and why it’s a bad idea to cut off your nipple (it’s way worse than you think)… all from my awesome co-workers. Need I say more? I highly recommend Lunch & Learns for any office.
WE WORK IN TEAMS
At Foraker, we work in teams using Scrum, Kanban, or a combination of methodologies we sometimes call Scrum-ban. Whatever the process, it feels good to be a part of a group working towards the same goal. It really helps encourage collaboration and teamwork. Plus, it can be fun when you get to work through tough challenges together and then celebrate your accomplishments.
WE HAVE FORAKER FRIDAYS
Foraker Fridays are yet another bonding experience. Once a month, at 4pm we go do something fun together as a company. For example, on the day of my interview, it just so happened to be a Foraker Friday, and I was stolen away to a go on a biking brewery tour, after of course surviving the rigorous interview process. What fun! I was sold. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with coworkers playing frisbee golf, racing go-carts, and learning how to hit golf balls at the local driving range. We do work hard, but play while we’re at it. Plus, knowing that there are little rewards and fun excursions awaiting us, give us motivation to hunker down and produce great work.
WE SHARE A WORKSPACE
This doesn’t sound exciting at first, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to get to know someone a little better just from sitting across from or next to them. Even if it’s only a couple mini conversations per day, it helps! At Foraker, most of our employees work in a centrally located open office environment with pairing rooms and optional quiet spaces surrounding it. It feels much less bothersome to ask a quick question to your neighbor rather than walking across the office and knocking on their closed office door.
WE PLAY HACKY SACK
As 4pm rolls around, our team usually goes out for a few rounds of hacky sack. Getting up and moving around a bit gives us a refreshing mental break and physical stimulation. It’s just what we need to pump us up, then get back in the office, and finish the rest of the day strong. Fresh air and laughter couldn’t be a better way to spend time with people.
It may seem like some of these activities and breaks take time away from actual work, but in truth, it makes us MORE productive and makes work a fun place, where we WANT to be on a daily basis, with fun-loving people. I have to say that besides producing great work, it’s the people I work with that keep me excited to get in the office every day. It’s important to enjoy what we do. So, we work hard, but make sure we’re having fun doing it!
How do you connect and bond with your coworkers? Have more ideas? We’d love to hear!