According to compensation platform PayScale, people only spend an average of 328 days socializing with friends over the course of a lifetime, compared to 13 years and 2 months at work. If you’re going to spend so much time at work, wouldn’t it be much better to have genuine relationships with your closest colleagues? Let’s break down the reasons why and then loop back to my personal experience with the Donut app.
Very little in life is black and white. When working with colleagues, two people can have the exact same take on a good next step but express their viewpoints very differently. Add in the challenges often presented by working at a global organization without a dominant native language and you’ve got the perfect recipe for miscommunications and poor alignment. I will never forget a former manager’s guidance to our team of consultants working late on a project, week after week: “people will make mistakes because we’re moving fast. Our survival depends on everyone trusting that each other has the best of intentions.” In my experience, spending time getting to know colleagues can not only be fun, but it can greatly reduce potential communication hiccups through building trust, which in turn dispels concern about their best intentions.
“For my first year or so at the company, my donuts were almost always with engineers. More than once, I came away with a new collaboration partner, and always, with a much deeper, more nuanced appreciation for our engineering team’s focus areas.”Erin Winkler-McCue
Sisense, Partnerships & Special Projects Lead
Knowing colleagues personally has also proven very valuable for my productivity. At Sisense–a large BI and analytics company where I am the lead for partnerships and special projects–Donut is set up to pair us with people we rarely slack. For my first year or so at the company, my donuts were almost always with engineers. More than once, I came away with a new collaboration partner, and always, with a much deeper, more nuanced appreciation for our engineering team’s focus areas. These benefits were even more apparent when I was Chief of Staff and they remain invaluable today in my current role.
In summary, Donut has helped me get to know my colleagues much better, which in turn has built a greater sense of trust between us. And when it comes to weighing different investments to drive company culture, Donut’s value-add is much greater than any fancy new espresso machine.