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15 Simple Ways to Be a Better Co-Worker

15 Simple Ways to Be a Better Co-Worker

Your co-workers are people who you are spending most of your day with, so it’s only natural you’ll try to have at least a decent relationship with them.

However, for the sake of your well-being and a healthier approach to work, why not trying to for an even better relationship with them? Forming strong bonds with your co-workers means you will go to work with a smile on your face because you know there are people who you can turn to when facing a problem and with whom you can have a joyful chat with lots of laughs?

It’s only important that you make the first step of showing you care for them; no reason to wait for the other side to do it first. There are so many ways to be a good co-worker, and if you need a couple of suggestions, you’re in the right place.

Be kind from the very start

In case you are new at the job, it’s important to form positive relationships with your colleagues as soon as possible. It will take off some of the stress you probably feel about having to impress your new boss. Your colleagues can be of great assistance to you but you need to show them respect from the start.

Be friendly to everybody and try to have at least a short chat with each one of them. Even if you don’t know what to talk about with some of them, know that a warm smile always goes a long way. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice and always be gracious and thankful when you get it. If you get invited to join them for lunch, don’t refuse the invitation.

Quit annoying habits

There are some habits that many people find annoying, especially when they work together, even more so when everybody is at a meeting. No one enjoys long meetings, so it’s good for you to make sure you are not doing anything that will make the meeting more unbearable.

For example, many employees hate when a co-worker doesn’t stay on the topic of the meeting but stirs it in a different direction. Others get irritated when their colleagues receive a phone call in the middle of the meeting or start a side conversation.

If you are all focused, things will run more smoothly, so do your best to contribute positively to the situation.

Ask them for their opinion

People like when they are asked to give their opinion on something; it makes them feel appreciated. So, don’t hesitate to ask them for their opinion, for example: “What do you think we should add to this report?” or “How do you think we can improve the situation?”. Even if their opinion wasn’t of any use, always thank them and smile.

Avoid gossiping

You don’t want your co-workers to talk behind your back, right? Then you shouldn’t do the same to them, either. If a co-worker tells you gossip about another colleague’s secret affair or some work-related scandal, don’t get caught in this web. Simply say “Oh, really?” and then immediately change the topic of your conversation. Your co-worker won’t have the reason to continue gossiping and you will avoid being unfair to another colleague.

Communicate in person

This may seem like a bit of too simple advice but it’s actually one of the essential factors of good relationships among co-workers. It’s very easy to misunderstand a text message, an email or an instant message, so try to have a talk face-to-face with your colleagues whenever possible.

Unlike using technology for communication, face-to-face communication allows your body to release oxytocin when you have physical contact with your colleague, for example, a handshake or a high-five. This hormone helps people connect and trust each other more, which improves collaboration. Oxytocin also improves your mood and helps you concentrate, so use every possible opportunity to leave your desk and have real communication with your colleagues – for theirs and your own sake.

Do small favours for them

Use every opportunity possible to show your colleagues you appreciate them and care about their needs. Small things matter a lot, and there are tons of occasions when you can do a small favour for a colleague and make them smile. For example, when you’re on your way to using the coffee machine in the office, ask your colleagues if they want some warm beverage, too. Also, when you are about to go out for a lunch break, ask them if anyone wants to join you for a nice walk or if anyone needs something from the shop. If you notice that someone’s having a hard time with their papers, don’t hesitate to offer help if you have time.

Give compliments

Similar to being asked for an opinion, people love getting compliments. never underestimate the power of an honest compliment, no matter how small the thing in question may be. Tell a co-worker who stopped smoking you admire them, pay them a compliment for a new haircut or a new blouse, say how you think they are great at doing a specific part of their job.

Return emails and text messages promptly

Both you and the rest of your colleagues are busy at work, so don’t let your colleague wait for your reply because that could mean you are interfering with their job and slowing them down. And there’s one more thing that many people think when their email remains unanswered – they believe they are unimportant to you. So, never assume you are too busy to answer them – do it as quickly as you can, and they will appreciate it. It’s a matter of good work etiquette.

Motivate others

Nothing motivates others to work hard than seeing another colleague doing the same. You should “lead by example” and let them know that it’s ok for them to work hard because there’s someone else doing the same thing. And once more of you start working harder, together you will create a more productive workplace and a better atmosphere.

Avoid cringe-worthy topics

Even though you may be very close to some of your co-workers, you have to be careful about what topics you talk about with them. There are some things you can talk about with your friends and family only, so you better think twice before starting a conversation on politics, religion or your sex life. These can lead to awkward moments or even harsh arguments and offensive statements, so you better leave some topics for the safety of your home.

Occasional acts of kindness

No one says you need to spread joy on a daily basis or be everybody’s good Samaritan at all costs but doing something kind every once in a while will lift everybody’s spirit. For example, you could bring some sweets or homemade cookies at least once a month for everybody to enjoy them. Bring a thank-you card to a colleague who helped you with a project or a humorous card for a colleague who has been in a bad mood lately.

Put up even with the most difficult co-worker

There’s a saying that you can’t choose your family but the same goes for your co-workers – no matter what, you are stuck with them, so you will have to try to make the best out of it. In most workplaces, there is usually one employee that everybody else finds the most difficult to get along with. You don’t have to become friends with that person but it’s very important to try to have at least a decent relationship with that person. Find a way to get along with that person and to maintain the basic level of cooperation.

Adjust your attitude

Don’t let yourself to give short, grumpy replies when your co-workers speak to you. Having a negative attitude does no good for anybody in the office. Also, don’t allow that a bad attitude or harsh words from one colleague affect your way of interacting with other colleagues. In general, try to maintain a positive attitude, and it will make your relationship with others easier. People imitate the way others treat them, so if your attitude is positive, it’s most likely you will receive the same treatment. Even if you don’t, stay gracious and don’t lower yourself to the same level.

Give credit when it’s deserved

Everybody wants to do well at work but it doesn’t mean you should withhold for admitting when a co-worker made a big contribution to the success of a specific project. Embrace the attitude that when one person wins, everybody wins. In other words, don’t hesitate to highlight in front of others when a colleague played a crucial role in solving a problem or doing a project. Also, if someone else gives you credit for doing something that another co-worker did, state clearly that your co-worker deserves the whole credit for that. Everybody will remember that.

Stop with the excuses

You know that situation when you say to your colleague how you didn’t manage to do something in time because you were too busy? Well, you can be pretty sure they didn’t believe you. One study revealed that more than half of employees use this excuse when in fact they had the time to do it. What’s even more important, 60% of employees don’t trust their co-workers when they say they were too busy to do something.

So, why would you let yourself to be in a situation where you need to say an excuse like that? It’s annoying and it makes you look unreliable. Do your best to do your obligations on time and when you don’t manage to do something on time, admit your mistake and say you’re sorry. And make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Final words

Your workplace makes the third of your day, so it’s perfectly clear why it’s important you have a good relationship with your co-workers. It’s so much better to go to a workplace where there are no negative feelings, anger, and resentment. After all, you are all there to provide for yourselves and your family, so it’s only natural you support each other. That’s how you will make your lives easier.


About the Author

Stella Ryne

Stella Ryne is an art historian, social media manager, conscious consumer and a proud mother. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book. Stay in touch with Stella via Twitter and  Facebook.

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