If you’re like most of the UK population, you’ll spend more time with your colleagues than your family, and while you might be ok with that if you get along with all your co-workers, it’s not quite so peachy if you don’t.
If you’re the person that leaves the office at 5pm precisely to rush home to be with your loved ones, no-one will blame you – who doesn’t love spending time with family? But if you don’t get along with people at work, those hours between nine and five can seriously drag and may impact the work you do.
So what can you do? Firstly, let’s start with the basics, politeness goes a long way to building relationships. A friendly ‘hello’ in the morning, a smile in the corridor and always watching your p’s and q’s will show that you’re a friendly, approachable person that people can hopefully warm to.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T means a lot in the workplace. It’s important to respect others’ opinions and their ideas, particularly in a brainstorm, when you should let people express themselves and not interrupt. You should also respect people’s personal space. If you’re in an office with several other people you should try not to rub people up the wrong way. Don’t be the person who speaks constantly on the phone and distracts others from working – go to a separate room to make your calls. Don’t be the person who types so loudly it gives those around you a headache. And, don’t be the person who eats their lunch at their desk and munches and crunches so everyone can hear! It’s also not good for your waistline as on average you’ll consume more calories if you eat while working. Instead, use your lunchtime to get away from the office and spend some quality time with your work friends. Go for a walk together, to a café or even to the staff room.
But what to talk about? You don’t want to talk work on your break. It’s ok to get a little personal; it’s nice to talk about our families at work.
Ask your colleagues how their children are, how their husband is getting on in his new job, or if they have any holidays planned this year. Just remember, you are at work, so keep the conversation professional, don’t get overly personal and definitely don’t gossip. If you have news that isn’t yours to share, or that may offend, keep it to yourself or in your own time. If you have a problem with someone at work, speak to HR and go through the official channels.
If you haven’t got something nice to say, don’t say it. Which brings us on to our final point – communication. If someone does a good job or has a great idea, tell them. If you’re struggling with your work, ask for help. No-one knows what you’re thinking unless you say it out loud. You work with your colleagues around 260 days of the year, now’s the time to make friends and make work a better place.