Did you know that this year you’ll spend more time with your coworkers than you will with anybody else? It’s true.
Think about it. On average, you work 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year (figuring in two weeks for sick days and vacation). That’s roughly 2,000 hours a year spent with the same people. That’s a lot of time.
This makes building positive relationships with the people you work with a priority—or, it could mean survival. Either way, it’s important. No matter how much you get along, somebody’s bound to get on your nerves from time to time. What we have to remember is that it’s up to us to be the best coworker we can be.
We can learn a lot from our coworkers. Like coexistence and collaboration skills for example. For tips on the art of being a great coworker, keep reading.
How To Be A Great Coworker
- Show some appreciation. When our coworkers feel unappreciated it becomes harder for anyone to see the benefit of going the extra mile. If there’s no one around willing to recognize the hard work they’ve put in, what’s the motivation to keep up the pace?
Enter: you. Yes, you! Manager or peer, you should make an effort to give credit where credit is due. You have options for expressing your appreciation too. You could go with a classic verbal recognition or get creative with a gif filled email.
A little nod of good work or congratulations is always, well, appreciated!
- Bring snacks to share. Seriously. Flashback to elementary school for a moment with me: what was the number one guaranteed way to make new friends? Sharing your dunkaroos of course! (Or whatever your elementary school snack of choice was.)
This tip is simple. The best way to a coworkers heart is through their stomach. Just be wary of any food allergies in the office before you show up with a plate full of peanut butter cookies.
- Respond to emails. Everybody’s busy because everybody has a job to do. We all know this. But if your approval or feedback is necessary for one of your coworkers to keep a project moving don’t make them wait.
Bottlenecking a project is frustrating for everyone involved and it can impact a person’s or team’s ability to reach company goals. If you’re not sure if you’re guilty of this (poor email etiquette) ask your coworkers to start specifying a timeframe within the emails they send you so you can keep track of how soon you need to get back to them.
If you just don’t have the time, a quick “I’m held up right now, but I’ll look over this this afternoon” email can be helpful too.
- Don’t be shy about sharing resources. The people you work with were hired for a reason right? Maybe Nick is a great problem-solver and Noah can negotiate like nobody’s business. There’s something you learn from everybody that you work with.
Regardless of our specific titles and unique strengths, it’s crazy helpful when someone shares resources that benefit the whole team.
Don’t hesitate to share an inspiring article, thought-provoking blog post, intriguing design, or funny meme you saw this morning. At Commercient, we use Google Hangouts to share fun and inspiring things with each other throughout the day.
- Be a good listener. Sometimes your coworkers just need to vent. We’re all human here. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is lend an ear.
Active listening is an empathetic skill that will help you understand what your coworker is currently feeling so that you can help them find a solution. This small act of kindness helps us to form bonds, strengthen relationships, and establish a solid foundation of trust and comradery with our coworkers.
- Respect their time. We all get stressed out. We all have to deal with things we’d rather not deal with. And we all wish there were more hours in the day.
While we can’t resolve all life’s problems via birthday wishes, you can do something to make everyday issues your coworkers face more manageable.
How? By making yourself aware of and respecting their time. Five minutes here and 15 minutes there can add up over the course of their work day. We should all make an effort to show up on time and come prepared so that everyone knows you respect their time.
This way everything that needs to get done gets done and everyone feels like they made a healthy contribution to the workday.
- Try not to be annoying. Harsh right? According to a survey by office product supplier Viking, 21% of participants admitted they have a problem with coworkers who talk on the phone too loud.
Viking also discovered that 20% of people dislike it when their coworkers fail to replace things that run out like coffee, dry erase board markers, and so on, while 29% of participants admitted it frustrates them when their coworkers are late on a regular basis.
What can we learn from this? Be considerate of the people you work with. Be conscious of how loud you’re talking when on a call with a client and if you need to shut a door; grab a new can of coffee out of the cabinet when you use the last of the one next to the coffee pot, and take notice that your tardiness may be holding up the completion of daily projects.
- Make valuable connections. You can help your coworkers achieve their goals by identifying opportunities to make valuable connections. Heard someone needs a freelancer for a project they’re working on? You know a girl! Make the connection.
Maybe you connect a newbie to a company vet for a little guidance or recommend someone to take the lead on the latest project. Networking is a big deal today and two networks are always better than one.
Being a great coworker isn’t all that hard. It just takes a little effort to get there.