So, I was hired early this year. I got about 4-5 months of training on the product I'm QA'ing for, then I was moved out of manual QA into automation of tests in our application. At the moment, I'm coding UI Tests for older well maintained straight forward regression tests. Because my workload, coding UI tests, is so different from the people around me, there is very little collaboration that needs to occur.

Unfortunately, this has left me feeling a bit socially isolated; Most days I come in, get my coffee, read the new developments with our product, and then get to work coding UI Tests until I leave. When I'm bored, or feeling like I need a break, I don't have the "I need to discuss the product" excuse for social interaction, and it probably wouldn't be prudent to go up to a working coworker and say "I'm bored and need a break" as a conversation starter.

The company culture has no issues with employees spending a few 30 minute periods just chatting per week; they believe it to be good for productivity. My problem is, I have nothing to really get started with with my coworkers, so I don't spend much time out of the cubicle. What are some good ways to integrate oneself into the culture when your work-load is so isolated?

  • 1
    Is this temporary or long term?
    – Bowen
    Aug 28, 2015 at 18:45
  • 2
    Just because you aren't working directly on something doesn't mean you can't ask someone else about their work. I've learned a lot by being curious about what my colleagues are up to work-wise. "Hey Jane, I overheard someone saying there was an issue with project x . Do you know what's going on?"
    – ColleenV
    Aug 28, 2015 at 20:17
  • 1
    Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/11816/17890
    – shoover
    Aug 28, 2015 at 20:47
  • "Tighten up, Sidney"... "Whatcha working on? 5 o'clock?" Sep 1, 2015 at 4:02

2 Answers 2


Try to find ways to either involve your team on "normal" social interactions. The trick is realizing you can fake these pretty easily.

For example you said you get to work and drink a coffee, do your coworkers?

Some suggestions which are all pretty simple:

  • Lunch/coffee breaks. Do your coworkers eat? Or drink coffee (if they program they probably do)? These are great things to do as it can jump start it. Perhaps suggest doing a team lunch once a week. Or if you want to go out to lunch, ask them if they want to come with.
    • Alternatively, bring some sort of treat to share - donuts, cookies, etc go over well most of the time...
  • Knowledge sharing. This has a wide range of overall acceptance as some people hate these and some love them, but could you do periodic knowledge shares. Cross-training is always great and can give everyone more to learn about.
  • Job shadow. Just ask if you can get more exposure to the activities your coworkers do. Most people love this, it gives you much more context to ask/talk about with them.
    • If you have interest in learning enough about dev positions to do that at some point, it's a great starting point.
  • Go for walks. "Hey I'm feeling a bit zoned out, want to go for a walk, it's nice outside!" We did this at my previous job, it was basically that. Someone would feel the need to stretch out some and then a group would go walking.
  • Ask about personal objects in cubicles. Most people have something in their cube which is unique, whether pictures or weird keyboards (I'm "that guy" at my office). "I've always wondered, is..." can start a conversation.
  • Games. Will vary greatly based on company culture, but if your company is ok with chat breaks, you might find some games which are quick to play. Card games work great for this.
  • Question/quote of the week. I had a period I picked an XKCD comic and put it at my desk for the "Comic of the Week" and got a lot of interesting discussion about this. People would talk with me as a result. You could do something similar.

Socialization in the workplace

  • It's definitely important to realize that having good connections with your coworkers will enhance people's overall view of you. While it's hard to talk to people and find friends if you're new, try to find out if there are any after work gatherings that your coworkers may have.


  • Some of the best places to meet and talk to new people are right before meetings start and in break rooms. If you see people gathering for lunch or going to the break room, try taking a small break and following them.

  • Try to show up a little earlier for a meeting and sit down next to someone and ask how they are.

  • HR is definitely a great way to meet new people as well. While their job is to make sure things are running smoothly, they are usually easy to talk to and will be happy to help you out with anything you need.


  • While meeting new people is fun and exciting, you should definitely prioritize your work over socializing. In time, you will meet new people.

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