How To Leave Your Desk And Spend Time With Your TeamBy Laiza Padilla
Oct. 2 2019, Published 3:29 a.m. ET
It’s a beautiful sunny Monday; warm coffee in one hand and a blueberry croissant in the other. You do a double take to make sure your outfit is crisp then check Google Maps to know what time is best to leave. You just started a new job, you’re filled with excitement and nervousness. Now what?
Oh right…not realizing how big the office space might be and getting to know the team you’ll be working with for five days a week for eight hours a day.
There are a few ways you can spend time away from your desk and get to know your team, in addition to others in your department.
Scheduling 1 On 1 Meetings
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your colleagues out in the open office space, you can totally schedule a thirty minute or one hour meeting with them.
First, I normally check in with them first — a quick message on Slack, Google Hangouts, RocketChat, Microsoft Teams, whichever internal communication your company uses — to be in the clear if they’re okay with it.
Second, it’s best that you schedule it yourself. Check in with them or their calendar to figure out the best time and office rooms.
Lastly, write a brief agenda in the email or in your notebook about what you’ll likely to discuss. The conversation allows you and your colleague to get to know one another, without the nervousness of being surrounded by an open space.
Company Mentor/Mentee Programs
This is a great way to branch out from your department and having the opportunity to get to know someone in a completely different aspect from yours.
Ask your manager, learning development associate or human resources if they have a mentor/mentee program. Check out your company’s internal website for employee resources.
“Building relationships is important. Know who to go to get your job done. You have to work with all types of people at work; some might just be a colleague, some could turn out to be one of your closet friends,” said Kristin Pernice, an executive assistant to a global CEO and global chief talent officer. “You never know. We all have to work together with others to get information or accomplish a goal.”
A mentor is a valuable asset when you first begin your job. You start off not knowing anyone and your mentor is the foundation for growing bonds. They help you to understand what you are being taught as well as introduce you to other members of the team.
New Hire Trainings
Another great way to break away from your office chair is to attend (usually they are mandatory) all those new hire or onboard trainings. Meeting people in a similar situation as you — new job, new setting — is less nerve racking as you’re all in the same boat.
Sit beside someone new and ask them what department or the work they’re doing to do. Lisa Janik, VP Director of Sales told me, “Those new people you sit beside that you think you’ll never see again, think again. We all support one another no matter what department you’re from. We all need one work to be done so the other can be done too.” In other words, just because someone works in finance and you might work in information technology doesn’t mean you’ll never cross paths. It’s possible that finance might need some IT help when their computers crash or you might need finance approval for some new monitors.
Company Clubs, Teams Or Organizations
Have a passion for soccer or art? Be sure to check in on your internal company’s website or human resources about possible groups you’re allowed to join. In addition, there might be a couple of different internal communication channels (Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, etc.) you can connect to and share your common interests.
This will allow you to connect with your fellow co-workers through interests and bond over activities. This also brings up team bonding, some companies have in building events to promote communication among staff or have some after hours fun at a company happy hour, comedy show or even going out to a sporting event with your team! Diversity, Unity, Gamers, Baseball Fans, Book Lovers, just to name a few possibilities you can find in your company’s internal use of communication.
The holiday season is coming upon us so there’s going to be Halloween, Thanksgiving, and even holiday parties to celebrate. Company parties let workers see each other in a light they haven’t before which makes them a great way to get to know everyone away from their desk and department.
Usually, there are activities, food, and music present making it easier to be open to having a conversation with someone. Sometimes, depending how big the company party is or the company itself, you’ll be surprised how many people you might know already. One time, I ran into someone I went to high school with, who works in the facilities department. Small world.
If you’re too hesitant to venture out on your own, best to stay with your team or department, get to know them more and meet some people they know, if your lucky they will introduce themselves to you as well!
Lastly, take a deep breathe and smile. You’ll never know who might become your office colleague or your go-to person for keyboard shortcuts. There are subtle ways to get to know your company and who you’re going to be working with, without the feeling of being too far out of your comfort zone.