As I am ‘old school’ and I still relax by lying in a hot bath reading a book (shock! horror!) Not scouring social media. A statistic caught my eye, which said friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%, and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.
Since we probably spend substantially more awake time with our colleagues than with our own family, I definitely believe it is essential to, at the very least, have a decent relationship with them. I personally feel they are an extension to my family (although some of them wish they weren’t!). But back to my point, when you are at your most comfortable and content, this is when you perform at your best. Harmonious workplace relationships can make going to work a pleasure and in turn a more productive environment.
Easy steps to consider to work towards this end goal;
Respect your colleagues – you obviously can’t be best fiends with everyone but you can be courteous with everyone you work with. Always keep in mind not to be offensive – for example; tidy up after yourself – some of us have enough tidying up after kids, dogs, husbands etc at home, we don’t want to do it at work. Always take on board others opinions and listen to their suggestions. Consideration is the key in the workplace.
Don’t be inappropriate – some of my colleagues may snigger at this point as I am renown for over sharing in our office. But joking aside, be aware of what might make your colleagues uncomfortable although you are fine with it others may not be. Try and find out what interests they have and continue conversation along these lines. I am a big believer that even if you feel that initial ‘I won’t get along with this person’ – this can easily be changed by just listening to what makes them tick and then finding the middle ground.
Get off to a good start – starting your new job is stressful. In addition to worrying about impressing your boss, you will also be concerned about establishing rapport with your co-workers. Will you get along with them as well as you did with your former colleagues, or better if your relationships weren't as good as they could be? Building these relationships and bonds takes time, however it does begin on your very first day. If you find it difficult to make small talk, remember that a warm smile goes a long way. Ask questions and graciously accept help and advice when others offer it. If you get invited to join others for lunch, go.
Good office etiquette – again we all get over excited when chatting with our co-workers and again I totally ‘hold my hands up’ on this one. But all it takes is just a quick moment to consider others – are they are on the telephone? When emailing – please and thank you go a long way. Don’t forget your manners! Also use proper etiquette when emailing your colleagues. Always say "please" when making a request and don't drive your colleagues crazy by hitting "reply all" to a group email when only the sender needs to see your response. I know we are unsure what the rules are for this, but honestly I don’t mind not seeing 26 responses about something that has nothing to do with me….because sometimes I find myself getting involved when my opinion isn’t needed!
Be kind to your colleagues -you should be helpful to your colleagues all the time, but also perform random acts of kindness that catch them off guard. For example, the other day I was drowning in our new data cleanse and wasn’t the happiest of people to say the least. But as a surprise one of my colleagues popped her head around the door and bought me a cup of tea as she was aware of how busy I was - her act of kindness and thoughtfulness bought a smile to my very unhappy face.
Resist the urge to gossip – ‘office whispers’ will only lead to trouble. Even if you are not spreading gossip, often the way in which you behave can lead people to suspect this. Always be positive in your conversation where possible. Boosting your colleagues morale will only lead to the work place in general being more productive, focused, creative and successful.
Be generous with what you know - nothing makes colleagues warm up to you more than when you seem like a genuine team player, and one of the best ways to demonstrate that selflessness is to share your knowledge, in addition to your time. The office can be a lonely place to be but with team work it can also be the best place! Always give credit where it is due – this makes people feel self worth and recognition. Be patient and generous. “Generosity is part of being a strong team player”.
If all else fails…supply sustenance and humour!
If you’re looking for the easy way to be popular at work, it doesn’t get easier than donuts, cakes, samosas or sweeties (or really anything edible if you work at eNL) along with looking at the world in a positive way! Don’t forget smiles and cake go along way. Always strive to be sensitive to the needs of your fellow colleagues, remain upbeat and friendly, communicate openly, and give colleagues the benefit of the doubt.
So don’t forget to convert your work frenemy into a work bestie – kill them with kindness and bury them with a smile!