The Benefit of Getting To Know Your Coworkers


Flickr CC via Siggi Churchill

What benefit is there in getting to know your coworkers?

Throughout the educational process, students are always scolded for socializing too much. Talking in class, note passing, and not paying direct attention to the teacher is how many schools are run, sometimes through high school and even into higher education. However, when these students graduate and move on to the workforce, they will encounter a completely different mindset. In the workplace, socializing with your coworkers is more than just accepted—it is encouraged.

Why is this, exactly? It is important to note that on a team, each individual’s productivity is tied in some way to their coworkers’ productivity. Therefore, anything that might help or harm productivity affects all of those on the team, not just the individuals. This can have both good and bad implications. If everyone knows each other, the team’s productivity can increase because people will work better together and feel more comfortable.

One of the main benefits of getting to know your coworkers is the strong bonds and camaraderie that can be fostered. A team that works well together will work more productively and, due to familiarity with each other, can more effectively divide work based on who is best suited for the task at hand.

Comfort is incredibly important in the workplace, though it may not be on the top of your priorities list. An atmosphere that employees feel comfortable in encourages creativity, which can lead to interesting new ideas and innovation that might not have otherwise existed. While it might not be fair to say that a comfortable atmosphere will certainly cause your coworkers to do their best work, it is fair to say that an uncomfortable atmosphere will cause their work to suffer; and as we discussed above, a disruption of this sort influences your entire team.

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Another benefit of a team that knows each other well is the emotion support they can provide each other. By getting to know each other, some coworkers will develop friendships and care about each other outside of simply being coworkers. Caring about your team members as individuals opens the door to providing emotional support when needed, the main benefit of which is defusing many negative scenarios before they ever occur.

These scenarios might include friction between coworkers, or becoming emotionally burned out. In either case, these distractions only serve to hurt your coworkers and your team in general. However, these potentially harmful situations can be mostly avoided by caring about your coworkers.

With all of this in mind, go forth and make friends!