It's not wasted time, if the timing is right for Friend-Building
The timing of when you try Friend-Building matters, because people are people.
One of our most common recommendations? You should run your Friend-Building events during the day, and not wait until the workday is over.
This normally produces a big cringe from the boss: "You want us to waste work time just to throw a party?!?!"
Well, first, it's not a waste because the social connections that are formed will pay dividends down the road when it comes to your company culture. Those hours that from afar might look like "just hanging out" are actually worth their weight in gold...IF you are able to introduce people who have barely met in your company and break some silos.
But science is pretty clear on the best timing as well. How many books, blogs, and coaches advise getting to your most important work early in the day? Workout in the mornings, tackle your creative projects early instead of your email, and eat a frog or elephant or something scary like that.
Towards the end of the day, when your willpower is worn down, and your mind is cluttered with all the new stresses you have gathered in the course of another crazy weekday, you are less likely to do the tough stuff, be it keeping to your diet, hitting the weights, or writing that sci-fi novel.
What if an office full of introverts, or nerds, thinks making NEW friends and connections is as daunting as starting the first chapter of that novel?
Leaving social activities until the end of the day, like a 4PM happy hour, might make it easier to just unwind with existing friends and cliques, but could make it harder to build new friends because the energy and willpower come up short.
Awesome hero-mentor Daniel Pink talks extensively about the afternoon "trough" in his new book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. The nerds in lab coats seem to agree, 2-4 PM is one of the most difficult times of the workday because energy and focus take a big drop. Lunch settles in and goodbye productivity.
So what if we took into account these ideas about tackling challenges earlier in the day and the 2-4pm slump and created an awesome friend-building event from Noon - 4pm? This way your office can catch lunch and avoid the dreaded 2-4pm trough in the office.
Plus, we can do something about all those folks sitting at their desks, eating lunch, and surfing Instagram on their phones. Scheduling company events after work always leads to logistics problems with kids' soccer practices and dinner, but we know where everyone will be during lunch...Probably in your office!
Maybe a mid-day Friend-Building event in an empty conference room or at the local park is just the jump-start your office culture needs. We can even bring some popcorn with the lunch.