Getting To Know Each Other

Sentiments of the outside world often and unfortunately sneak into the workplace. Historically, our society has experienced cycles of contentious unrest related to perceived injustice. The workplace can become an unintended environment for the “spill-over” of hurt feelings and frustration that employees are harboring based on societal events. During intense times, it is important to foster an environment that firmly discourages and prohibits acts of workplace violence. All employees should be mindful of each other and show respect in the workplace to maintain positive peer relationships. It is necessary to know of and understand the risk factors that may lead to workplace violence, but equally important is to know and understand how to enhance positivity, teamwork and unity amongst employees. The more involvement they have with each other, the more they may notice if a team member is exhibiting uncharacteristic behavior which may need to be reported to Management. This behavior may take the form of increased expression of outward frustration, constant irritability over minor issues, bullying others, a persistent poor attitude towards organizational change, and more.
Here are a few activities to help your team stay positive and connect in a friendly way:

Group Stretching. In an office setting, select a peer to lead a group exercise of light stretching. Everyone can participate at their physical comfort level. These stretching exercises are a fun way to set work aside for 5-10 minutes. The stretching facilitates group involvement but can also serve as a tool to help reduce musculoskeletal disorders or other workplace injuries commonly associated with desk work.
Team Lunch. Going out to lunch with your immediate work group or department can take place even when there is not a retirement, birthday or other special occasion. Taking time away from the office to have social conversation may be the perfect way to get everyone energized and in a good mood for the remainder of the work day.
Give Recognition. As a leader or as a peer, giving recognition amongst your work group can go a long way. Simple note cards expressing appreciation for completion of a task may leave a long-lasting impression with a co-worker. It can also spark positive conversation amongst the group.
Donutology. Conduct a team building exercise that encourages team members to learn about each other’s likes and dislikes. The exercise does not need to (and probably should not) focus on “heavy” topics, like politics or philosophy. It can be fun, such as taking a donut personality assessment – What Does Your Donut Choice Say About Your Personality?
Regardless of the activity you choose, the primary focus should be to encourage your team to communicate and get to know each other.