There’s a schism between managers and the employees they manage, and it might be getting bigger. With more and more new graduates getting entry-level positions in the corporate workforce, and with older employees maintaining the vast majority of the management spectrum, it’s hard to comfortably communicate. If a sullen hush follows you around or your employees approach one-on-ones with a vague tinge of dread, you need to change that. Here’s how you can improve communication in the workplace.
Make Time to Chat in General Areas
Everyone’s busy, and it can seem like wasting time in the break room is precisely that: wasting time. But it gives you an opportunity to be visible without marching into your employees’ implicitly outlined areas. Start to develop a pattern of being in the break room and chatting about things besides work. You don’t have to try and phonily relate to other people; good-natured griping about the commute is a universally accepted vice. Even if it doesn’t lead to your employees coming up to you with questions or ideas, it does break down preconceptions that talking with a manager is either the sign of a problem or the sign of schmoozing.
Take Part in Health or Culture Initiatives
Working in an office is unhealthy, and more and more studies are pointing out precisely how. Some of the biggest concerns involve not walking around enough, being stressed, and dehydration. If your company’s human resources department is starting any health programs or trying to encourage people to drink more water, join in. These initiatives are almost always positive and are a new context for you to interact with your team. It also puts everyone on a more level playing field and gives you more opportunities to talk with them outside of a business crisis or focused meeting to improve communication.
Improve Communication – and More – With Tangram
Watercooler talk may be an old-fashioned idea, but it’s still alive and well. Use it to your team’s advantage. Go to Tangram for more office design tips and growing trends that can grow your company culture.