We spend an average of 40 hours at the office, or ¼ of our time each week. This is a good enough reason to want to be happy and fulfilled at work! Depending on your perspective, salary, benefits, quality assignments or career opportunities can play a more or less important role. However, there is a common denominator that everyone agrees on: the importance of good relationships with your colleagues.
Social Connections, A Basic Need
Humans are social animals. It was the great philosopher from Ancient Greece, Aristotle, who first made this observation. For psychologist Abraham Maslow, the search for social connections is as important as our need to eat. So, it is in our nature to seek out relationships with those around us, including our colleagues at work. And this applies to everyone. According to a study conducted by the research firm EY, 66% of Swiss employees say that their satisfaction at work depends more on getting along well with their colleagues than salary. And we have never felt our need for connection and contact more strongly than during Covid-19, to the extent that many employees chose to go back to work in the social setting of open spaces rather than continuing to work from home once lockdown was lifted.
Interactions with Colleagues, A Source of Well-Being at Work
Opening up to others and discussing issues with them works like an antidote for low morale, anxiety and lack of self-confidence. When you feel supported and understood, you feel stronger than when you work alone. All you need to do is talk with a colleague about your worries and problems to feel lighter and less stressed and irritable. Recent medical research has confirmed that these mental health benefits from a rich social life counteract sluggishness, nerves and depression.
Good relationships with colleagues also foster a positive environment, great team cooperation and better energy at work. A 2019 Paris Workplace study shows that the quality of relationships between employees is a factor in performance and well-being at work. From just being cordial to friendship, all levels of professional relationships have their place at the office, as long as they contribute to everyone’s satisfaction and keep them engaged, starting with you. When we prioritise authentic and friendly relationships with colleagues, everyone wins, including the employer. Because satisfied employees are always happy to come to work, and they are more productive and guaranteed to stay loyal to the company.
How Can You Create Connections with Your Colleagues?
If you are asking yourself how to cultivate quality interpersonal relationships, here are a few strategies to try.
1 – Be an Ice Breaker
To best apply this strategy, just be friendly, courteous and even tell a few jokes to lighten the mood. Break or games rooms are the best places for getting closer with colleagues. Without being too inquisitive, show that you are interested by asking them if they’ve had a good weekend or participating in the conversation. A good mood or a smile can open more doors than you think and contribute to your well-being at work.
2 – Participate in Company Events
Whether it’s company parties, team building seminars or happy hour, take advantage of these events to get to know your colleagues better. Some employers encourage group initiatives that bring employees together, which are great opportunities for you to feel more integrated. Join the community garden or volunteer to show your commitment to the company and getting involved with your colleagues.
3 – Show Team Spirit
If you want to create stronger friendships with your colleagues, don’t be a lone ranger. Cooperation is the key to better interpersonal relationships. Help a colleague in need or ask for help if you have a problem. Supporting each other will give you mutual satisfaction and allow you to pool your skills.