It’s important for any workplace leader to get to know their employees as individuals and to continuously build team rapport. This requires “management by walking around” and keeping your door open to frequent dialogue with staff members. And topics can and should go beyond work-related matters. It’s good for morale, and ultimately productivity, to interact with your team members and ask about their weekend, their family, and their lives in general.
But like any good thing, too much is too much. You need to strike the right balance between socialization and meeting daily performance goals. This is part of your responsibility as a workplace leader – and it’s not difficult to do, as long as you keep a few key points in mind.
Keep It Real
Few people can honestly say that they actively work every minute of the day. The occasional break is not only inevitable, but it’s good for avoiding burnout, keeping communication lines open, and strengthening relationships. Just don’t let socializing cross the line and hurt productivity.
- Even small chunks of lost time add up. In one recent study, 89 percent of respondents admitted that they waste time at work each day. Of this total, 61 percent said they lose between 30 and 60 minutes of productive work time per day as a result. This amounts to up to five hours a week – or 130 hours a year, per employee. In another study, “gossip” was cited as the second biggest factor, following cell phone usage, which distracted people from their work.
- Too much socializing has a domino effect. Those who don’t socialize as much may come to resent your lack of focus and commitment – regardless of how valid this may be. Remember, perception is reality.
- Trust may be diminished. If you aren’t a good steward for your assigned job, chances are you won’t be offered the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities. And at the end of the day, your company pays you to get your work done, so valuable resources are wasted as you lose not only your own time, but that of others, when you prolong socializing.
How to Strike a Balance
You can get your social fill during the workday and also get the job done successfully, if you strike the right balance between the two.
- Follow a daily schedule. Begin your workday by making an itinerary of what you need to work on and when. Check items off as you successfully complete them. Then reward yourself with brief breaks.
- Set time limits – and a good example. After socializing for five or 10 minutes, politely excuse yourself and go back to work. Over time, others will take notice and follow suit. So you not only will get your own work done, but you’ll inspire others to do the same.
For additional leadership tips and resources, consider partnering with the workforce development experts at CPS Recruitment®. Contact us today to learn more.