Going to work for most of the week might seem like a bore at times. Even if you’re working with pretty decent people and have a good package, the daily grind can get on your nerves quite often. However, most adults have to keep on working for a living; the real issue at hand is how to enjoy our jobs and be more engaged in the workplace.
If we look at the research on the subject, it’s found that people that have best friends (one or more) at their workplace are much more likely to stay engaged and connected to their jobs. However, these don’t have to be ‘best’ friends. You can simply have a few good friends at your place of work to make your daily routine a little happier and more fun.
Good work relationships have also been found to lead to better engagement with customers, more productivity, and more profit at the end of the day.
So how ecstasy do we build those positive work relationships and benefits from them? Before coming to that, let’s briefly look at a few more reasons why we should work on our relationship with our office mates:
Why Do We Need Good Work Relationships?
Here are the benefits of having not just civil, but friendly bonds with the people we work with:
- By nature, humans are social creatures. Family time is undoubtedly important, but your workplace is where you spend around a third of your whole life. When you have a good relationship with these people, it will only make your job and life more enjoyable. If you’re lucky enough to have a long term friendship with some of your colleagues, you might have a richer experience in both your work and social lifestyle.
- When co-workers are comfortable with each other, they’d be more open when giving feedback, input, opinions, and new ideas. This will make brainstorming sessions and meetings more productive and innovative. The group morale and work environment will also rise as a result
- Negative work relationships take up a lot of time and energy, which only drains productivity along the way. When you have positive connections, you’d feel more energetic and able to focus on projects instead of feeling judged or looking to one-up the other person all the time.
- With a more comfortable, friendly environment, the mental health of every employee is also likely to be stronger. This result will then have a positive effect on other aspects of their lives as well.
- When there’s a strong circle around you in a professional field, you might find it easy to climb up i n your career. In a way, working on your relationship with office mates is like networking you’re building connections that can get you places
- With better morale, we can also expect better productivity; if the office is doing well in the industry, the benefits will trickle down to everyone in the workplace. Here are some other little known ways to boost productivity.
What Defines a Good Work Relationship?
How do we know when we have a positive work relationship with our colleagues? Below are just a few factors that signal a healthy bond:
- A high level of trust, where you can be honest about your actions and thoughts
- People and teams work together while having mutual respect for each other, resulting in solutions founded on creative collective insights and wisdom.
- Employees and managers are self-aware, taking responsibility for their actions and words
- A welcoming community for people from all walks of life, even if they have different opinions insights, or perspectives
- Open and honest communication at every level; face-to-face, through emails, video conferences, etc.
How to Build These Relationships
It’s now time to look at how we can go about building such positive relationships in our workplaces. While connections with key stakeholders and managers will probably bring the most benefits, it’s good to focus on everyone you come into contact with–customers, employees, suppliers, and so on.
Not sure how to start the ball rolling? Here are some tips to get started:
Identify What You Want From the Relationship
Before working on a friendly relationship, determine what you need from the other person. The next step is to figure out what they might need from you in order to have a positive connection. Understanding such needs will give you a good base for building up a friendship.
Enhance People Skills
Stay alert about how good you are at collaborating with people, dealing with conflict, and just generally commentating with your officemates. If you find weakness in any of these areas, start reading up on how to overcome them.
Give importance to Emotional Intelligence
EI is the ability to know one’s own emotions and understand how to deal with what they’re saying. By having a developed emotional intelligence, you will also become better at identifying the emotions of your work mates and handling them properly.
Learn to Listen Mindfully
We might know how to talk to others, but do we really listen to them? A good listen will focus on what the other person is saying and try to give the best response. Trying to change the topic to something you’re more comfortable with, or turning every conversation on yourself will probably not get you a healthy work relationship.
When a person practises mindful listening, they learn to talk less but will understand more form a conversation. This will help them gain the trust of their co-workers, which is likely to lead to a good long term work relationship.
Give Some Time
On a regular workday, there might not be much time for connecting with your co-workers. Some offices might have certain perks like ping pong tables in the employee break rooms, but you don’t have to wait around for such chances. See if you can ask one or more colleagues to get some coffee or lunch outside of the workplace. If possible, go out with a group of co-workers for a short unwinding session after work.
Even if you can’t give an hour or two out of a week, don’t forget the small kindnesses that win people’s hearts. A like on a LinkedIn post, asking after a family member’s health, and other small gestures can be just as valuable in making good relationships. The small interactions will take some time, but they’ll build up a strong connection between team members.
Stay Within Your Boundaries
Whether you’re giving time to your co-workers or helping them out a bit, it’s important not to go overboard. There’s no need to give them several hours after work every single day, at the cost of your own relationship with your family. Being too eager or too kind can also backfire, with some people feeling that you’re intruding on their personal space. Others might start to take advantage of your willingness to build up a friendship.
Don’t let anyone monopolize all your free time; after all, you’re there to work first and foremost. Once you respect your own and other people’s boundaries, you’d be better equipped to have healthy work relationships.
Appreciate Your Co Workers
Whether it’s a young intern or the head manager, everyone likes a little appreciation every now and then. If you feel that someone is doing a good job or if they do one task especially well, don’t hesitate to acknowledge it. A bit of recognition and praise can build up a great work relationship.
Problems are a part of life, but no one wants to hear constant complaining or deal with daily grumpiness. Instead of focusing on how horrible the traffic was that day or how you forgot your lunch at home, try looking for positivity in everything. Positivity is a contagious feeling, so people will gravitate towards you if they feel that vibe. Staying positive will also help you have more fun in the workplace whenever possible. Here are some more ideas on how you can have fun at work.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the gossip and workplace politics, but such habits tend to ruin work relationships. If you find yourself conflicting with a co-worker, try talking to them about the issue in private. If you learn a secret that might embarrass someone, keep it to yourself. Even if you’re just having a general conversation with a co-worker, don’t needlessly repeat it to others. Just these few precautions will help to gain your office mates’ trust.
If you want a strong relationship with co-workers, don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you have a very busy schedule, be upfront about not accepting more commitments or responsibilities.
At all events, it’s essential to be present in your workplace and stay alert to anything that can help you develop a good bond with your co-workers. It can be easy to stay absorbed in work and rush home as soon as it’s time to clock out. Try out one or more of the tips above and see how your work life changes after that.