At work, it's easy to get in the mindset of go-go-go. With 62% of American professionals eating sad desk lunches every day, it's less and less likely that you're making time to get to know the people you share an office with.
It can be hard to break the habit of a sad desk lunch. Even though you know it's terrible for you and for your mental health, sometimes the pressure of needing to get things done takes over.
Enter: The coworker coffee.
Getting to know your coworkers is arguably the best part of coming into an office. With today's remote-friendly environment and technology that allows us to connect from anywhere, why bother going into an office at all? It's because your coworkers are there.
Innovation and excitement—that special spark—comes from putting a bunch of smart people together in a room. So if you don't take the time to know or care about who those people are, you're doing yourself a disservice. Life is a lot easier with friends, and work is a lot easier with coworkers who care about you as a person.
The other reason to go the coffee route? Lunch can be a free-for-all, with lots of people going in and out. You may not feel comfortable opening up to a group of people, and you might not be able to have a serious work conversation. One-on-ones in coffeeshops or in your dining hall give you the ability to get to know someone on a more personal level, and opens up the conversation to ask for advice on a project or on your career in general.
Talk about bang for your buck. You spend a half hour doing something you were already going to do (drink coffee), meet someone new (networking), and maybe even get advice or come up with a cool new idea. Or maybe, you get to see 1,000 baby pics or pictures of their new house. Either way, it's a half hour well spent.
It doesn't have to be in person for it to work, either. At Litmus, we do virtual coffee with a tool called—what else—Coworker Coffee. It automatically pairs you with someone else in the company who has opted in for weekly coffees. It takes a lot of the thought over who you're going to talk to out of it, and has helped me learn more about other parts of the business.
Your networking challenge
So, here's your challenge: Each week, find someone for coffee. Someone who you don't know super well, or who does something you're interested in. Take them to your local coffeeshop or even just to your dining hall. Take the time to get to know someone new—you'll never know what ideas it may spark.