How to Build Good Co-worker Relationships

It can be easy to spot which of your co-workers intend to stay with the company long-term. They make a real effort to get along with the rest of the team and communicate in a friendly and professional manner. In comparison, employees who are simply marking time until they find a new job usually will not engage with their colleagues and are reluctant to show commitment to the company.

Business managers know that good interaction among employees can add extra drive to a business. This is why they organise all kinds of team building events to improve morale and promote working relationships. But you don't need to take part in a cross-department weight loss competition or karaoke evening to get along with your co-workers. Here are a few tips to help improve your interaction with your office colleagues.

 

# Good Old-Fashioned Manners

 

Simple courtesy, like greeting your co-workers with a smile and a cheerful “Good morning!” sets the tone for the day. Remember to call people by their name and make eye contact when you speak to them. Practising courtesy also extends to not leaving smelly sandwiches in your desk drawer, not eating fish in the central office area and refilling the coffee machine if you happen to finish the last cup.

 

# Communicate Effectively

 

Some co-workers love email. Others like the phone. The office technophobe may opt for a personal chat. Finding out which colleague prefers which communication method goes a long way towards efficient and productive interactions.

 

Whe in doubt, default to email. Your email strategy should include having a clear subject line. For instance, “Question About Lunch Meeting” rather than just “Question.”

 

Keep the email short and to the point. Only CC those who really need to know about the message to save spamming the entire office. If you must CC someone, make sure it's clear why you’ve included them. Keep your topics separate, and start a new paragraph for each new topic.

 

If you find that your messages fail to get a reply, don’t immediately take it to management. Explore other avenues first. It’s better to speak in person to the co-worker who is, supposedly, ignoring your messages. Keep it friendly. Ask how they are, and explain you're just checking-in to see if they've received your emails. Always assume the best first. It could be that your colleague is simply too busy to reply, or for technical reasons, your emails haven't arrived in their inbox.

 

# Pick the Right Time and Place

 

It’s never a good idea to wait outside someone’s office while they’re busy on the phone or with a client. This puts pressure on them to finish what they’re doing quickly. It’s far better to try again later.

 

Also, try not to ask about a work matter in the passageway, toilets or in the kitchen. It’s particularly bad form to bring up work matters in off-duty time such as when you see a colleague shopping in the supermarket or at a social function.

 

One area to be careful of is the lunch break corner. People go there to have a break and enjoy their lunch. This is not the time to speak to them about work.

 

#Do It Yourself

 

It’s sometimes easier to just ask a co-worker for information rather than looking it up for yourself. But this can be the wrong way to build a productive relationship. If the information you need is available in a manual or online, make an effort to find it yourself before turning to your colleagues for help. The fact that you tried, even if you didn’t succeed, will earn you a lot of respect.

 

# Beware of Social Media

 

Make sure you're familiar with your company’s policy regarding social media. Connecting with colleagues on social media is usually acceptable, but be careful to keep things professional or it may come back to haunt you. Aside from the obvious, avoid any contentious issues and never mention anything even vaguely confidential about the company or co-workers.

 

In today's workplaces, it's safe to assume that management monitors your online presence. You'll be wise to keep work connections on LinkedIn and use Facebook and Twitter for catching up with family and friends.

 

# Avoid Office Politics

 

Try not to be drawn into office gossip or dramas. Smile politely and exit the conversation as soon as possible. If you do get trapped in this kind of idle chat, try to stay on a neutral, if not friendly, basis with everyone. You can never know who will be promoted and could end up being your manager, or who you’ll need to work with on a long-term project.

 

# Keep Complaints Out of Work

 

We all need to vent our work-related frustrations now and again. Just make sure you only do it with your partner, a friend who works elsewhere, or your cat. Keep it far away from the office. Complaints at work always climb their way up the ladder, seldom down. If you do have a legitimate problem always address it through the correct channels.

 

# Welcome Newbies

 

Make sure new people feel welcome and needed. It’s easy to take on the attitude that you’re part of an exclusive Old Boys’ Club and the newbies are an intrusion. This is not just about being friendly and helping to ease the new colleague into their first few weeks, but also because they might belong to management in a few years.

 

This doesn’t mean sucking up for the sake of your own interests. It's showing respect and recognising that everyone is there for a reason. We all have a special skill set that we bring to the table, and it takes very little effort to smile and say, “Welcome to the company. I’m here to help if you need anything.”

 

# In Conclusion

 

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