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Building relationships in the office can result in happiness outside the office

Posted on 05-14-15 in Behavioral Health, Mental Health

Building relationships in the office can result in happiness outside the office

Mastering a healthy work-life balance can be an elusive quest for a lot of people. Unhappiness at work can have a huge impact on our personal life and vice versa. We spend most of our time at work and see our co-workers more than we might see our spouses. Our co-workers play an important role in our professional as well as personal lives and building a healthy relationship with the people we work with is a huge key to having a successful career.

Companies with a healthy work environment and friendly co-workers are more successful than those with a hostile work environment. Getting along well with people is one of the most important skills that leads to success at work. For example, a promotion is unlikely if we are known to have problems with our co-workers. Negative workplace relationships create low morale, which can affect everyone on the team, as well as customers and clients. Poor morale can also cause employee turnover, which interrupts team building and company workflow.

Here are 10 attributes of a healthy, happy work environment that will create positive morale.


Having trust between co-workers is one of the most important attributes of a positive work environment. When we trust our team and colleagues, we form a powerful bond that helps us work and communicate more effectively. When we trust the people we work with, we can be open and honest in our thoughts and actions, and we don’t have to waste time and energy wondering whether someone is after our job. Keep in mind that honesty is a huge part of trust. Dishonest co-workers cannot be trusted.

Mutual respect

When we respect the people we work with, we value their input and ideas, and they value ours. Working together, we can develop solutions based on our collective insight, wisdom and creativity. Because everyone thinks and acts differently, everyone can positively contribute and feel valued.


Mindfulness means taking responsibility for our words and actions. When we are mindful, we are careful about what we say and don’t let negative emotions impact the people around us. Thinking things through before we say them aloud can prevent a lot of potential turmoil. When we are angry or stressed out, being mindful of those emotions and informing our co-workers of them will give them a better understanding of our words and actions that day.

Welcoming diversity

People with good relationships not only accept diverse people and opinions, but they welcome them. For instance, when our friends and colleagues offer different opinions from ours, we take the time to consider what they have to say, and factor their insights into our own decision making. People come from all different backgrounds and, therefore, each person has something unique to offer.

Open communication

We communicate all day, whether we’re sending emails and instant messages, or meeting face-to-face. The better and more effectively we communicate with those around us, the richer our relationships will be. All good relationships depend upon open, honest and effective communication. Some people prefer email because they like to keep a written record of their actions or responses to questions. Others value a phone call more, since it’s a quicker communication medium. Some people prefer communicating face-to-face because it helps build personal relationships. Learning who works best through email, phone, instant messaging or personal visits can create more effective communication among co-workers.

Finding common ground

Even though we might seem extremely different from our co-workers, we might actually be more similar than we think. When we engage in conversation and ask them about their hobbies or weekend activities, we likely will find a positive common interest. Maybe it’s a favorite sports team, a type of music, a hobby or the same type of pet.


Learning to collaborate with others, develop relationships with co-workers and establish professional connections all work to strengthen an organization. An individual is never stronger than a team of individuals. Regular team building exercises and bonding outings can create a productive, effective and collaborative workforce.

Learning to network

Meeting new people and adding co-workers to social media accounts can be beneficial for future career endeavors, but we must be mindful of what we post on our pages and always keep it professional. We never know who will look at our Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter pages.

Staying positive

Keeping a positive outlook on life will allow other people to feed off our positive energy. Nobody likes a “negative nancy.” We all have bad days every once in a while and problems will arise; however, we need to remember to “pick our battles,” deciding which issues are worth getting stressed about and which are better forgotten and left alone. Make it a goal to always smile and say “hello” to someone in the hallway, bathroom or kitchen.

Respecting non-work time

The lunch break is a time when people can really feel crunched for time. Try not to approach co-workers with work-related questions or issues while they are three bites into their sandwich. It doesn’t do anyone any good to have hungry co-workers with indigestion trying to solve problems at half capacity. Also when seeing co-workers outside of work, be friendly and say hello, but try not to bring up work issues; instead ask them how their weekend or evening is going.

Keep in mind that office life is much like having roommates. Don’t be the person who left the fish sandwich in the fridge for two weeks, or ate someone else’s lunch or finished the last Keurig cup without opening another box. After all, we spend at least 40 hours a week with our co-workers, so we might as well make it a positive experience, build friendships, network and climb up the corporate ladder without leaving anyone behind.

Written by Kristen Fuller, M.D., Sovereign Health Group writer