How co-workers interact with one another says a lot about the morale of a company. Decades can pass until you and another person realize how much you have in common. Sometimes, it’s the person you least expect and may evolve into a substantial relationship. Compared to generations prior, office camaraderie is becoming a thing of the past. While office parties are okay, they seldom offer quality time to mingle or talk shop. By the time the annual holiday party rolls around, the last thing employees want to do is discuss work.

This is why weekly or monthly socials are a great idea. With a little creativity, they don’t cost much and can be a nice breather for those who look at a screen all day. If a person can get a space that accommodates half of the people they expect to attend, catering duties should be the easy part. Instead of serving alcohol, a few sweet treats can accompany light appetizers. For fruit or dessert trays, you might want to try a gourmet dark chocolate sauce for the chocoholics that may be in attendance. If said person is your boss or someone with clout in your organization, this could change things for the better.

Ideas for the Novice Caterer

Making a food tray is pretty easy for those without a catering budget. The magic is in the presentation, as most people are attracted to bright colors, shapes, and sometimes just cheese. This leaves many possibilities that are also affordable, such as:

* Flatbread pizza

* Hummus with garlic naan or pita bread triangles

* International or unusual cheese variety

* Subtly savory or sweet snacks (like biscotti) that are easy to transport

When it comes to serving fruit or veggies, making diagonal or vertical cuts that are almost uniform makes the best visual. Even if the shapes aren’t 100% perfect, this can be overlooked when the arrangements are balanced. Making a halo shape around bowls or layers of long lines that are easy to pick up is attractive yet practical. The best place to find food display ideas is the supermarket deli section that sells catering trays. Sometimes a butcher or manager can work out a deal that costs less than placing a custom order.

The Other Social Networking

Besides having a neutral playlist that’s not too loud for conversation, giving guests a souvenir gives your social hour a purpose. Double-fold cards with the date of the event is a good idea. These can be used to write down personal URLs or social media profiles, which may be advantageous in getting a promotion or a different position.

Since company email addresses don’t allow employees to reveal their outside pursuits, this can be a good way to demonstrate personal knowledge. Sometimes, companies need subject matter experts (SME) to help out with research for a new project set to launch. However, this should be done with caution if guests’ career aspirations conflict with the nature of the organization.

The Potential to Improve Productivity and Job Satisfaction

While few will shy away from all company events that don’t require mandatory attendance, most are looking to reach their full potential in their current position and make the right connections. Although some workers have been programmed to move on once they become bored or find a better position elsewhere, oftentimes this can be avoided. When things get busy at the office, an honest conversation gets lost in the shuffle most of the time.

According to Inc.com, job satisfaction and perks are the main factors for employee retention. One key to satisfaction in any relationship is the ability to practice and encourage open communication. An individual may have no problem voicing their complaints about sudden changes, but coming up with a feasible solution can feel a lot better. If there are doubts in regard to execution, this is the ideal discussion to have with a supervisor before threatening to leave.

When the hours seem like New York minutes in a typical workday, coming up with effective communication may seem daunting. However, it’s better than gambling on the fact that the next job will be better or there’s a nicer environment out there. Socializing doesn’t have to be a shallow thing nor does it have to be limited to work, but it can remind us that everyone is human.

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