How to Build Relationships With Your Co-Workers
If you work a lot (and let’s face it—who doesn’t these days?), you’re spending the majority of your week in the company of your co-workers. Although it depends on your profession, there may even be a chance that you spend more time with your co-workers than with your significant other. Getting along with these people, who are basically your office space roommates, is crucial to a happy and healthy work environment. While you don’t have to be best friends with your co-workers, you should focus on building a positive relationship with them. Here’s how to create a long-lasting working relationship with your colleagues.
The simplest and easiest way to establish any sort of relationship? Say hello and smile. When you arrive at the office in the morning, greet your co-workers with a “Hi, how are you?” Even if you’re having a bad day or you got in a fight with your partner before you left for the office, when someone says hi to you, say hello back. You never know who might be your boss one day, so it’s best to start developing good relationships at every opportunity you get.
When your co-workers are talking, actively listen to them and be engaged in the conversation. If they are asking for help and you can assist them, do it quickly and effectively. Try to remember what they tell you. If on Friday you ask a co-worker about her weekend plans, follow up on Monday. “How was the Stanford football game? Did you tailgate?” You don’t have to get all of the details; just show your co-workers that you listen to them and pay attention to what they are saying.
When it comes to shared office spaces, practice common courtesy. Don’t be the person who always puts dirty dishes in the sink rather than the dishwasher. That tuna sandwich you left in the fridge two weeks ago? Throw it away. Keep your personal desk space clean. You don’t want your co-workers to think you’re a slob. Wipe your desk with multi-surface spray once a month, and recycle old materials that you’re no longer using.
If there’s an office happy hour or group outing, go to it. A little team bonding outside of the office is necessary for career success. If you consistently say no to outside activities, your boss might think you’re not interested in getting to know your co-workers or being a team player—this could pose a threat to your career. Plus, it’s impossible to work with a stranger. For you to do a good job, you need to know the people you’re working with.
Emails, texts, instant messages—there are so many different ways to communicate with co-workers in our modern and fast-paced world. When working closely with anyone, find out which method they prefer. Learn who works best over the phone or who enjoys a personal desk side visit, then engage your co-workers in their preferred manner. Be effective when sending emails. Make sure the subject line is concise, and only cc the necessary players involved in each situation. If you put “quick question” in the subject line, make sure your email really is a quick question.
It’s incredibly important to be respectful of other people’s time. Everyone is busy and has a lot of work to do. Show up to meetings on time. Don’t hand off work requests on a Friday at 5:30 p.m. while you wait for the elevator. Conduct business operations at times that are convenient for everyone involved. If you run into a colleague outside of the office, don’t bring up work tasks. Nobody wants to discuss the status of an upcoming project in the canned-goods aisle of Whole Foods. Also: Be respectful of co-workers’ personal lives. You don’t need to know the details of your team member’s messy divorce.
Before you ask someone a question, try to find the answer yourself. Consult a training manual or do a quick Google search. Nothing is more annoying than a co-worker who is constantly asking questions that have obvious answers. Don’t be that person!
Everyone complains about their job once in a while, but avoid directly venting to someone you regularly work with. If work is stressing you out, discuss it with your significant other or a friend who does not work at the company. If you have a close friend for a co-worker, griping to her is okay, but do it outside of the office, on your own time.
Not everyone is into social media, and just because you’re co-workers doesn’t mean that you have to be Facebook friends. If your friend request is unanswered by a co-worker, don’t be upset. Assume that she likes to keep her private life private. If you are friends with co-workers on social media, be cautious of what you post. Constantly sharing drunken photos on Instagram is not going to impress your boss. Also, don’t share confidential information about the company on your feeds.
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How do you make nice with your co-workers?