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Building positive relationships with coworkers

Posted on 11-12-14 in Mental Health

friendly coworkers

Let’s face it; since people typically spend more time with their coworkers than their families, it is a good idea to try and make the workplace a pleasant place to be. Nobody wants to trudge through what amounts to a large chunk of one’s lifetime in an environment that is stagnant, grim and unfriendly. No amount of money would be worth that tradeoff.

When we consider that a multitude of folks, each with their own unique personalities, skill sets and gifts, are encased together in a building for eight hours a day, it would behoove the staff of any company to not only get along, but to attempt to flourish in that setting. Positive interpersonal skills can be learned by simply observing effective ways that coworkers relate to one another and handle conflict and stress. There are books and websites chock full of suggestions for fostering a happy workplace. There are so many ways to promote positive work relationships.

  • Company outings
    In addition to seeing one’s workmates in a non-office setting where there are no cubicles or offices to define the space of engagement, company outings provide ample opportunity to really get to know everybody in a casual environment. A picnic, a beach BBQ or a bowling night – the activity is about letting your hair down and socializing. This leads to bonding and builds a sense of camaraderie that will flow right back into the workplace.
  • Fostering a sense of teamwork
    Large companies can tend to become disjointed, with one department not having any knowledge whatsoever what the other department does. In fact, without a sense of cohesion with regard to the company’s mission, employees may not appreciate the hard work and efforts of each cog in the wheel. Occasional company meetings where people in leadership positions can alternate in sharing their department’s goals and projects, and how they fit into the overall philosophy or big picture view of the company can make all employees feel they are informed, and could even motivate them to seek a different path in the organization if they get inspired by the presentation. All of this over coffee and doughnuts, of course.
  • Making a sincere effort to have a positive attitude
    Yes, work can be stressful and humans are just that, human. Everyone gets frustrated and annoyed from time to time, so that is to be excused. Walking around with a cloud over one’s head, however, is not conducive to promoting a positive workplace and making friends. A simple smile and “Good morning” creates a pleasant start-point for future conversations about family, pets, hobbies and travels. A positive attitude at work will seep into all crevices of the workplace. When people are approachable and friendly it fosters a sense of mutual respect and a sense of belonging that leads to healthy work relationships, which eventually leads to increased productivity. A happy employee is a productive employee.
  • Welcoming the new kid
    Starting a new job is scary. That first day, or week, at a new workplace is a daunting experience, marked by insecurity and sweat on the brow. Being in unfamiliar territory is something everyone has experienced, so in the spirit of empathy it is always nice to express a welcoming demeanor to the new hire. Just introducing yourself and telling the newbie that you are happy to have them on board would go miles in making them feel right at home. To take an extra minute to show them around would be even better.
  • Good office etiquette
    At the foundation of any quality relationship are certain common traits which translate to the relationships we have in the workplace. Being considerate and respectful, communicating effectively, practicing common courtesy, being honest, offering a helping hand—all of these basic civilities promote a pleasant work environment that is based on mutual respect. The result is fertile ground where positive relationships among coworkers can grow.

A work life that is not only fulfilling on a professional level but also enjoyable on a personal level is attainable and benefits all who are involved in that place of business. Looking forward to seeing one’s coworkers, to share with and to learn from, is intrinsic to a healthy and holistic life. When it’s time to clock out in the evening, it’s great to leave with the sense of not only accomplishment of the various tasks of the day, but that the hours were enjoyed alongside people you like and admire.

Written by Eileen Spatz, Sovereign Health Group writer