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Work relationships are a necessary truth in any workplace. Learning how to develop positive and genuine work relationships is crucial in creating a work culture that not only purports strong company values, but acts by them too.
Company culture is a hot topic and with the continuing rise and importance of mental health in the workplace, a company’s culture and values are more important than ever. However a company is only made up of its sum parts - the individuals within the company. The relationships between colleagues, especially the relationships between senior management and their co-workers and employees, is how a company truly shows what their company values mean. If these relationships do not adhere to the values of the company, then those values are rendered superfluous. Here are my thoughts on how to foster a work environment everyone would want to work in:
Your workspace is always super important. Investing in ergonomic furniture, good lighting and consistent temperature regulation will create better environment so that employees can deliver their best work. Also, a blog post released by CIPHR shows the benefits of having plants in your office, notably that plants help reduce stress, increase productivity and creativity, improve air quality, and reduce noise levels. Employees can’t do their best work in an office they find disruptive and uncomfortable. Adopting some of these changes will not only lead to better work output, but more importantly lift the work environment for everyone in the office, improving overall well-being.
Everyone you work with deserves respect in the workplace, even when you differ on opinions. In fact, respecting those that may indeed have differences in opinions to yourself goes a long way in developing trust between colleagues. Furthermore, how you approach potential conflicts is vital, your demeanor and tone sometimes speak louder than your words.
It’s a cliché but you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Active listening is the start of effective communication. Encouraging people to have their voice heard without interjections makes people’s opinions feel valued. A great way to promote a coworker’s voice is by listening curiously and openly, if you don’t agree with their view don’t shut them down. Instead, attempt to express why you think it may not be the best course of action. Giving people a reason as to why you may disagree makes them feel heard.
Work socials really do lead to better, more positive work relationships. Taking the time to connect on a personal level, in and out of office environments not only shows you care for the co-worker as a person before an employee, but also can lead to pleasant surprises when you find shared interests outside of the office. This helps develop more personal, stronger bonds between colleagues.
39% of workers say regular check-ins are the number-one thing that makes them feel happy at the office, according to a recent Ernst & Young survey. If you’re in the office, take time to ask if your colleagues are doing ok. Ask their opinions on internal projects or send them a quick email or message checking on their progress with a particular task. These are simple acts that can improve workers’ sense of value and productivity.
We all make them and having the self-awareness to take ownership of your mistakes will make you appear trustworthy and more authentic. By owning your mistakes, any potential tension is relieved amongst your colleagues, making a problem easier to overcome and the project you are working on can be delivered more efficiently.
Feedback really can make or break a workplace relationship. If someone has done a good job make sure to tell them. It’s crucial for the quality of future work that your colleagues or employees understand what good looks like for you. If there are improvements that can be made, be objective and prescriptive in how you explain why and how such improvements can be made. Giving considered and constructive feedback certainly can take time. But in the long run that is time saved as your co-workers can better act on your feedback. Effectively communicating, taking the time to get to know your colleagues, and self-awareness will help to foster a positive work environment. This inspires and motivates better work from colleagues and employees as well as improving overall well-being.