Why should you care about office politics and relationships? Isn’t avoiding all that drama one of the reasons you started your own business in the first place? But as the saying goes, no man is an island, and there are many reasons to build camaraderie in your small business’s shared office space. You never know when you might need help moving a piece of furniture, answering a phone, or even just someone to run ideas by. Most important, office mates can be a great source of referrals and recommendations to new clients and customers.
It’s a bit harder to build office camaraderie when you’re sharing office space with different businesses with different schedules, goals and people you don’t know. But it is still possible. Here are five ways to make connections.
Food is always a great icebreaker. Bring in some breakfast items or homemade breads to share around the office to start conversations and learn people’s food preferences (something to keep in mind when sharing again).
2. Ask a Question.
Aren’t sure where to get lunch nearby? Or where to find a local IT consultant who makes office calls? Instead of looking itup on Google or Yelp, ask for recommendations from other people in the office and start a conversation.
3. Offer a Recommendation.
Tips work both ways, so if you find a great printer, coffeehouse or gym in the area, make sure you let those around you know. At some point you could reach out to share a ride or even offer to run an errand.
4. Start an Office Pool.
Sports are a great way to build camaraderie in the office, even if you never leave your desk. Start a Super Bowl pool or ask who watched last night’s game. You can gauge people’s interest by how much time they spend talking to you about different sports. (It doesn’t have to be sports; lots of people start pools based on awards shows, such as the Oscars or Emmys, too).
5. Get Out of the Office.
Sometimes it’s easier to build relationships away from the office. Suggest a once-a-month lunch outing or happy hour so you and your office mates can get better acquainted without interrupting each other’s work day.
The more you work towards understanding those who share your share office space, the more you’ll get from the relationships.
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