Career & Finance

How to Build Better Relationships With Your Coworkers

Let’s assume you work eight hours per day, five days per week and that you take three weeks off per year for vacation. Does this remind you of one of those torturous story problems you had to complete in elementary school? There’s a point, I promise. If you run the numbers, it means that you spend approximately 1,960 hours per year with your coworkers.

Having a solid relationship with your coworkers definitely makes your entire work experience more enjoyable.

I’m willing to bet that’s more time than you spend with any of your friends or family members. There’s no sugarcoating it—you spend a lot of time sharing air with the people you work with. And, while you may not expect them to become best lifelong friends, having a solid relationship with your coworkers definitely helps to make your entire work experience more enjoyable. But, how do you accomplish this? It can seem challenging to build a friendship with someone when you only ever talk about the jammed copy machine or the lack of coffee creamer in the break room. However, forming relationships with your coworkers doesn’t need to be that complicated. Put the below tips to work, and you’re sure to spark a bond between you and the people you work with—both in the office and out!

1. Work Hard

Let’s face it, nobody likes a slacker. So, if you’re aiming to build stronger ties between you and your coworkers, you should start by making sure that your own job performance is up to par. Get your pieces of projects completed on time or even ahead of time. Respond promptly to messages from your team members. Do your best at your job day in and day out. It might seem completely irrelevant but few people are eager to be friends with the office loafer who’s constantly shirking responsibility and passing the buck.

2. Be Helpful

On the same token, it’s hard not to like the employee who’s constantly there in a pinch to lend a helping hand. Being helpful and conscientious instantly makes you more likable. So, offer to assist when your coworker is positively buried under work. Take detailed notes in a meeting when she’s out sick. Not only is it just the nice thing to do, but it’s also a great starting point for a solid (and mutually beneficial!) office friendship.

3. Avoid Office Gossip

Falling into the office gossip trap is way too easy. In fact, at first glance, it might seem like a great way to actually solidify relationships in the workplace. After all, that person must really like you in order to take the time to approach you and gripe about your boss or another employee. But you don’t need me to tell you that office gossip always comes back to bite you. So, do your best to stay completely disengaged. After all, if the only things the office blabbermouth can think of to talk about is your boss’ bad haircut or your coworkers’ pending divorce, that’s probably not a relationship you want to have flourish anyway.

4. Participate in Office Outings

Alright, so maybe your office’s bowling league sounds really cheesy or you hate the idea of getting up on a Saturday morning to volunteer with your department. But company events are an amazing chance to get to know your coworkers outside of the four walls of your office. So get out there and participate in the outings your organization puts together! You’ll get to connect with your coworkers on a different level—and you’ll probably be surprised at how much fun you end up having.

Having something to connect over—other than your shared hatred for expense reports—can build a stronger relationship.

5. Organize an Activity

Not every company puts together events and outings for their employees to participate in. But that doesn’t mean that you and your coworkers have to resign yourselves to those quick conversations by the water cooler. There’s nothing stopping you from organizing a happy hour or another social laid-back activity that gets you and your fellow employees out of the office for some fun. So, take the initiative to organize something after work hours. Nothing brings people together like a few drinks and some appetizers.

6. Find Common Ground

Think back to some of your recent conversations with your coworkers. What were they about? If the first things that come to mind are meetings, phone messages, and the fact that the printer’s out of paper, you aren’t alone. Most of your interactions likely revolve around work-related issues. While you don’t want to waste tons of work time gabbing about irrelevant subjects (it’s a surefire way to annoy your boss), finding different interests and passions that you share with your coworkers is still a great idea. Whether you’re both training for your first marathon or you’re dying to know what’s going to happen next on Scandal, having something to connect over—other than your shared hatred for expense reports—can help to build a stronger relationship.

7. Perform Random Acts of Kindness

Forming friendships with the people you work with doesn’t need to involve complicated, grandiose gestures. Instead, simply taking the time to do something that will make them smile is really all it takes. Pick up an extra coffee for your desk mate on your way into the office. Take note of birthdays and leave a card on your coworker’s desk. Bring in a bunch of donuts on a Monday morning. These are all small, easy to manage actions—but they’ll have a huge impact. Plus, it doesn’t take a genius to know that everybody loves the person who’s armed with free coffee and donuts.

When you spend so much time at work, having great relationships with the people you work with can make a big difference in your opinion of your job and your attitude in the office. But, sparking these friendships can seem complicated and even a little awkward. Luckily, building stronger connections with your coworkers is more than doable! Put these tips into action, and prepare to be the most well liked person in the office.

Do you have great relationships with the people you work with? How did you get the ball rolling?