[aa_subtitle_display]When it comes to the workplace, fostering a strong sense of community can be a challenge, but it is certainly one worth fighting for.

Creating a space where meaningful relationships between colleagues are encouraged, facilitated, and praised equates to a more productive, engaging, and all-around positive work environment for all involved.

But, you are probably asking yourself how this can be achieved – as it is definitely a bit rare for co-workers to form this tight-knit community. However, it is possible to attain if you utilize the following tips and tricks.

Lead by example

Showing your employees how important it is to you, as an employer, that they have meaningful relationships with each other and that you have meaningful relationships with them is the first (and perhaps the most important!) step towards fostering a sense of community worth envying.

While, as a manager, it can be difficult to balance having “friendships” as well as working relationships with your subordinates, it is possible to do. In fact, one of the benefits of a PEO is the help and guidance provided to help walk this fine line and in turn reap the benefits of happier

– as well as more loyal and trusting – employees.

Plan events and team building activities

A big part of fostering a sense of community among the office relies on planning fun events that can be enjoyed outside of work.

Things such as happy hours, meals, holiday celebrations, and team building activities act as common ground for employees to get to know each other on a more personal level and to bond over things other than what they are working on from nine to five every day.

While office sponsored events have to be planned with care and caution in order to reduce “risk and liability”, there is still much room for fun and team bonding.

A PEO can easily offer their expertise in simultaneously planning flawless and unforgettable events while taking the appropriate risk management measures.

Recognize the special occasions of those around you

Another effective way to build community among your employees is to recognize and celebrate “special occasions” around the office. Birthdays, weddings, new babies, and other life events are all worth acknowledging and sharing in with colleagues.

Taking the time out of everyone’s busy schedules to recognize these events shows employees how much they care about one another.

And – not to mention – doing this is easy!

While you can certainly allocate part of your budget towards this recognition, you can also do something as easy and fiscally friendly as sending an email to the group spotlighting someone’s special day.

Alternatively, the group could get together and all chip in for bigger events

– for example, for a surprise baby shower or baby gift from everyone. A PEO can be useful to help brainstorm ideas as well as determine any budget allocation towards community events, if need be.

Eat lunch together

While many offices tend to get so wrapped up in the day that employees end up eating lunch at their desks or on the go, having lunch together is not only a great break but it is also the perfect way to bond and catch up with one another.

Even if it’s only once a week, enjoying the meal together has wonderful benefits. Consider doing a catered lunch for the group on a weekly or monthly basis. Your PEO can help coordinate this and we guarantee your employees will appreciate it!

Encourage friendly competition

Sometimes, a little healthy competition among one another can act as a bonding experience. There are so many challenges you could put forth to your employees that are not only fun but would inspire camaraderie among the group.

For instance, a fitness challenge using everyone’s FitBit’s or activity tracker encourages healthy living as well as something fun to keep track of among the office.

Alternatively, a Fantasy Football league is something seasonal, competitive, and fun!

As you can undoubtedly tell, there is a wide array of ways to encourage community among your employees and make your office a happier place to be.

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