coffee break

The conversations people have at work are not always about work. It is appropriate at certain times to socialize, or talk to other people about non-work-related things. Just like socializing with friends, co-workers and managers are expected to socialize with one another.

Socializing at work helps strengthen workplace relationships. Socializing means talking about topics that are more personal, or things happening in everyday life outside of work. This helps people get to know one another on a personal level. For example, talking to a manager about the football game last night or talking to a co-worker about what you did over the weekend.

Socializing with people at work is different from socializing with friends and family. Some people have very outgoing personalities. Socializing with people at work comes easily to them. Others may not feel as comfortable socializing with people at work. Helping your students to understand the need to socialize effectively will help them to be successful in the workplace.

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to socialize in the workplace.

Socializing with Managers

woman talking to boss

Some people might find it hard or uncomfortable to socialize with their manager. The difference in status, or rank, at work can result in a social obstacle, making conversation more difficult. It’s important to try to socialize with whoever is in charge and build a relationship with them. Try to learn about the manager’s interests. Finding topics that the manager is interested in is a good place to start.

No matter how comfortable one becomes with the manager, they should always be respectful when talking to them. Use language that is appropriate for the workplace. Talk about topics that are not offensive or inappropriate in any way. Even when not talking about work ones should still try to leave a good impression.

Socializing with Coworkers

coworkers socializing

Socializing with coworkers helps strengthen the quality of workplace relationships. Strong relationships enable the team to work better together. Coworkers who communicate well about non-work matters are more likely to collaborate on work effectively. Coworkers will also feel free and open in their work conversations. When relationships are strong, employees and the company all benefit.

Socializing with Customers

If a job requires interacting with customers it is important to be able to talk about both business and non-business related topics. Customers like to feel as if they are working with a real person. Build trust and bond with customers by getting to know them. Much like socializing with a manager, avoid topics that are too personal or inappropriate. Let the customer do most of the talking until at first. Let them reveal their interests and concerns. This translates into a better experience for the customer and the employee.

Know when it’s okay to Socialize

busy office

It is important to build workplace relationships but it is not always appropriate in the workplace. Socializing too frequently can prevent people from getting their work done. Socializing at the wrong times can leave a bad impression. Coworkers or managers may start to view people the socialize too often as lazy or incompetent. The following situations are examples of times when it’s okay to socialize at work:

  • During breaks
  • Waiting for a meeting to start
  • Passing someone in the hall
  • While helping a customer

Be Friendly

friendly socialization

Even if someone struggles with socializing, it always helps to be friendly. Saying hello, smiling, and being positive are just as important as being conversational. Listening to others and responding appropriately is key as well. It’s also good to give sincere, honest, compliments. It shows others that they matter and their ideas are important.