4 Ways to Build Strong Relationships with Your Coworkers

The social aspect of your work life is important. 

Once people finish the school portion of their lives, their social scene suddenly becomes limited to their work scene – so building great relationships with your co-workers is important to your overall happiness (and the number of friendships you have outside work). 

Beyond that, you will enjoy work more and have an easier time getting help from your coworkers when deadlines are looming if you have great relationships with them. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when building relationships with coworkers. 

Take Them Out for Coffee 
This is especially helpful if you’re new to an already established workplace, or if you’re all part of a new start-up.

A large established workplace will already have their routine and friendships locked in, and unless you luck out and happen upon a super friendly co-worker who asks you to lunch, you’re going to be flying solo unless you make the first move. Ask someone who seems friendly to coffee or lunch, and they’ll likely give you the lay of the land and welcome you into their work social scene. 

At a start-up, initiating a group lunch is a great way to establish a work routine that will develop friendships and working relationships that will last you the rest of your career. 

Those who play together work well together.
Respect Their Time
As much as you might be tempted to ask Johnny to teach you how to use Photoshop, or pass a task onto Julie – remember their time is just as valuable as yours is, and they are just as bogged down with work and deadlines as you are. 

If someone is on the phone or obviously in the middle of something but you need something, don’t hover around and make them feel pressured to finish what they’re doing – come back later. 

Don’t spend 30 minutes talking about your weekend to them on Monday morning when you know they have 50 emails to get through. 

Also important: ask for things during work hours. Not during lunch, and certainly not during off hours or weekends – your co-workers want to enjoy their downtime without having to make a mental note of the new task you just added to their plate for Monday.
Treat Everyone the Same 
This is especially vital for bosses and anyone in a supervisor or manager role. If you have a team under you, no matter how large or small, it’s absolutely necessary to treat everyone within it the same.

Don’t just claim you are, show them you are. 

Yes, Julie might be better at a certain aspect of the job than Johnny, but you should save the praise for where it matters – in performance reviews, and when it comes time for raises and bonuses.  

Same goes for reprimands; if Johnny screws up a client proposal, don’t call him out in front of the whole team. Save it for behind closed doors. 

Employees will always notice any favouritism and it will build resentment, which never makes for happy, productive employees. 

If you are no one’s boss – it’s inevitable that work friendships are going to develop deeper with some of your co-workers over others, but showing the same respect for everyone you work with is still vital and not at all hard to do. Stay out of the work gossip mill as though your life depends on it. 
Make New Hires Feel Welcome 
Remember when you didn’t have anyone to join you for lunch your first week on the job (until you asked someone)? 

The newbie might not be as confident as you were to reach out to the solid team she’s just joined, so give her a helping hand and invite her out. Joining a new place of employment is like switching to a new high school halfway through the school year. Everyone already has their routine down, and no one’s doing any favours for the new kid.  

Give her a warm welcome, she might become your lifelong best friend, or the most important work connection you ever made.

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