How to build positive relationships at work
Young multiracial business team welcoming newcomer woman in hijab

Did you know that most Canadians will spend over one-third of their life at work? So it’s no surprise that getting along with your colleagues is important. Most workplaces are made up of different backgrounds, cultures, and upbringings. And it’s these unique personalities which makes teams more vibrant. But that can also mean it takes a little bit of effort to get along with everyone. Learn the benefits of healthy relationships at work, how to build them, and how to manage difficult ones.

The benefits of healthy relationships at work

By nature, humans are social beings. So, it makes sense to want to get along with the people that you work with. And when a team gets along it makes everything a lot easier. Plus, employees are more likely to put their best foot forward and are more motivated to do a good job. The bottom line is the more comfortable we are interacting with our teams, the more likely individuals will feel confident voicing their opinions, brainstorming, and collaborating.

Top reasons why it’s important to build positive working relationships in the workplace:

  • Effective teamwork
  • Positive morale
  • Increased productivity and work satisfaction
  • Improved individual growth
  • Better customer engagement
  • Increased profit

How to build a healthy work relationship with coworkers

Like most things that are worth investing in, building strong work relationships can take time and patience but, in the end, it’s worth it. Here are a few tips on how you and your team can build healthy work relationships.

  • Communicate often but also practice mindful listening. Open and honest communication is not only good practice in everyday life, it’s also essential in the workplace. Clear communication and effective listening are equally important and should be practiced together. This means thinking mindfully about what you want to say and maybe even preparing some notes in advance. When listening, focus on what the other person is saying rather than thinking about your reply.
  • Support your teammates and frequently give praise and recognition. Everyone appreciates a helping hand! When you support your team, it fosters a collaborative environment. And who doesn’t appreciate a high five on a job well done? Giving praise and recognition will help employees feel valued. There’s a time and a place for constructive feedback but positive comments should always come first.
  • Be consistent to build trust. Working as a team means always showing up for each other to achieve a mutual goal. Little things like being on time and delivering work that meets deadlines, go a long way to create trust within a team.
  • Schedule time to build relationships. Regular one-on-ones led by managers are important for driving engagement and gauging work satisfaction. While it’s important to get status updates on projects, it’s also nice to build a personal connection with any direct reports.
  • Avoid work gossip. This should be a no brainer, but office gossip can negatively impact work relationships. If you’re experiencing conflict with an individual, it’s best to talk to them directly about the problem. Gossiping never ends well.
  • Manage boundaries. While it’s important to have an open door policy for your team, it’s helpful to set aside dedicated time for drop-in hours, work blocks, and touch points so you can be fully present when you’re interacting with your team.

Handling difficult work relationships

Sometimes you have to work with a difficult coworker. We get that it can be frustrating but there are constructive ways to turn it around. Remember, it’s important to stay professional and do your best to get along. If there’s noticeable tension, there are several things you can try to improve the relationship.

  • Communicate clearly. This is even more important when working remotely. Sometimes, a phone call is needed to chat things over thoroughly. And other times, instant messaging tools are great to ask a quick question. Learn how to create a positive work culture remotely.
  • Learn to manage different personalities. The approach you take with one person may not work for another. Learning and accepting how different people operate will help you to manage unique personalities.
  • Speak to the person directly and respectfully. If you’re having a problem with someone, bring it up to them privately so you can try to resolve it. Try to focus on your experiences and feelings rather than the other person’s actions.
  • Speak to HR or your manager. Sometimes you’ve tried everything you can to problem solve. If this is the case or if things have really gotten out of hand, it might be worth reaching out to your HR team or manager for support.

Learning how to handle difficult people at work can go a long way to help improve the overall vibe of the office. When the work environment is peaceful, it’s easier to focus on tasks and achieve team goals. Employee relationships have an impact on both workers and the company. So, it’s up to everyone to make coming to work enjoyable.

Genuine social connections at work are important. They help team members feel connected and part of the team. By having close friends at work, employees are more likely to look forward to their workday, resulting in a more positive workplace culture. And when employees are engaged at work, the company is more likely to have strong retention.

Positive work relationships are just one part of a company’s wellness strategy. Do you know what has a huge effect on overall employee well-being? Financial, physical, and mental health all significantly affect how employees feel when they show up to work. But the number one thing that causes stress for most people is money.

Sonnet’s group insurance program provides discounts to your team – at no cost to the employer. It’s a quick and easy way to help improve employee engagement. After all, sometimes it can be hard making sure everyone on your team is getting along. But hopefully these tips will help everyone look forward to coming into work.

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