The average American spends more time with his or her coworkers than with family or friends. In fact, most spend upwards of 2,000 hours a year with fellow employees.[1] If on-the-job relationships are less than stellar, job satisfaction can suffer.

Research shows employees are happier when they have good relationships with coworkers. They report their jobs are more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile and satisfying. What’s more, close friendships at work can actually boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent and increase engagement seven-fold! Perhaps this is why well-known online shoe retailer Zappos®, known for its vibrant company culture, builds fun and friendship into every day corporate life.[2] Organizations looking to do the same may want to start with these simple tips on becoming a great coworker—they’re great for bosses and staffers, alike:

  • Express gratitude: Did you know a simple thank you can boost employee self-worth and encourage optimism? A text or handwritten note can go far in expressing gratitude. Organizations may even want to consider adopting a company-wide recognition program—use star sticky notes or playing cards as a place to jot down notes of gratitude (staffers and management should both participate). Allow employees to turn in their notes or play their hand for small prizes—for instance a happy planter or emotibag sportpack.
  • Go the extra mile: A little goes a long way when it comes to setting the tone of the office mood. Avoid the dreaded office “depresso” by making that first pot of coffee in the morning. Fill the printer, paper towel dispenser or any other device that runs out of needed product. And stop for bagels or cookies prior to a grueling meeting.[3] Sometimes, it’s the little things that count.
  • Ditch the drama: It can be tempting to chime in when coworkers are gossiping about others or voicing complaints. But doing so is unprofessional and communicates disloyalty. Instead, allow others the opportunity to vent by practicing active listening. Then, help them arrive at a solution that is beneficial to all. Remember, a drama free work place starts with open communication and honesty.[4]
  • Acknowledge bad habits: Do you talk too loud while you’re on the phone? Are you habitually late for meetings? Or are you a foot tapper, gum smacker, carrot cruncher, song hummer or <insert other annoying behavior here>? If you’re guilty of one or more of these bothersome blunders, acknowledge it—and then quit.[5] Snack in the kitchen; make a conscious effort to terminate the tapping; opt for a breath mint in lieu of gum—you get the picture. And your team members will thank you.
  • Foster a sharing culture: Each employee comes with his or her own skill set, strengths and interests—many of which could benefit all. Encourage staffers to share something they’ve learned, an interesting blog post, a life hack—you name it.[6] You may even want to start a tradition such as “Sharing Tuesdays” or “Knowledge Wednesdays” where employees are encouraged to present some valuable findings. Reward those who consistently contribute with a phone stand station or ceramic desk mug (#116234).

We can likely all stand to take a tip or two on becoming a great coworker. Give one or more of these a try in your office, and encourage others to do the same. By building relationships at work, happier, more engaged and productive employees await!

 

[1] Stec, Carly. “Are You a Good Coworker? 13 Strategies to Improve Your Professional Relationships.” Are You a Good Coworker? 13 Strategies to Improve Your Professional Relationships. N.p., 3 July 2013. Web. 05 June 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/sales/strategies-to-improve-your-professional-relationships?utm_campaign=Social+Topic%3A+Office+Life&utm_content=30531185&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter#sm.0000fofiv38pocubv4z1nl6h7ox4y>.

[2] Riordan, Christine. “We All Need Friends at Work.” Harvard Business Review. N.p., 03 July 2013. Web. 05 June 2016. <https://hbr.org/2013/07/we-all-need-friends-at-work>.

[3] Bagish, Corinne. “8 Ways to Be Everyone’s Favorite Coworker.” Mashable. N.p., 09 Apr. 2015. Web. 05 June 2016. <http://mashable.com/2015/04/09/how-to-be-everyones-favorite-coworker/#B9dZBitdSkqW>.

[4] Stec, Carly. “Are You a Good Coworker? 13 Strategies to Improve Your Professional Relationships.” Are You a Good Coworker? 13 Strategies to Improve Your Professional Relationships. N.p., 3 July 2013. Web. 05 June 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/sales/strategies-to-improve-your-professional-relationships?utm_campaign=Social+Topic%3A+Office+Life&utm_content=30531185&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter#sm.0000fofiv38pocubv4z1nl6h7ox4y>.

[5] Kolowich, Lindsay. “14 Annoying Office Habits We All Need to Break.” 14 Annoying Office Habits We All Need to Break. N.p., 2 July 2014. Web. 05 June 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/office-annoying-habits#sm.0000fofiv38pocubv4z1nl6h7ox4y>.

[6] Stec, Carly. “Are You a Good Coworker? 13 Strategies to Improve Your Professional Relationships.” Are You a Good Coworker? 13 Strategies to Improve Your Professional Relationships. N.p., 3 July 2013. Web. 05 June 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/sales/strategies-to-improve-your-professional-relationships>.

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