Whether your office is small, or has hundreds of employees, being a good coworker is important to everyone. Here are just 5 Ways to Be a Better Coworker:
1. Focus on the positive
Don’t walk around with a rain cloud over your head! One negative person can completely bring down the mood for everyone in the workplace. When you’re at work, smile, and look people in the eye. Don’t complain about your workload, other coworkers, or your boss: If you do, you bring down the morale of your coworkers. Everyone may have a big workload and reminding them of it only increases the stress; also, someone else may like another coworker or boss just fine, until you bring up your own issues and damper that relationship. A bad attitude is bad business. Also, be sure to avoid office gossip, and try to politely nip it in the bud when you hear it. Office gossip can spread lies, damage other people’s reputations, and affect the way other people see you. If you are always bringing up what you hear about other people, coworkers will not view you as a trustworthy business person. [image by Ben Smith]
2. Talk with your coworkers… but not too much
It’s good to invest in the lives of the people you work with. If you don’t ever talk to your coworkers, you can come across as uncaring and self-absorbed (even if you mean well). Chit-chat here and there with your coworkers: ask about their lives, be aware of birthdays, and listen to what your coworkers have to say. Just know when to stop. Be respectful that your coworkers have deadlines and recognize that they don’t have endless amounts of time to be your new best friend (or your therapist). The right amount of engagement with your coworkers at the workplace will help promote a friendly team environment without damaging productivity. [image by Pieter Kuiper]
3. Give credit and compliments
Most people can get frustrated or irritable when they feel their good efforts are ignored. It just feels good to have hard work validated by others. You may not be able to control whether coworkers are properly recognized by the company as a whole, or whether they get that promotion or raise when they deserve to, but you can do your part to notice when your coworkers do a good job. If someone really helps you out with a project, thank them. When a coworker dreams up a stellar idea or gives a great presentation, tell that person what a good job he did or how you appreciate her hard work. Not only will your compliments give each person a boost for the day, but seeing all their smiles will verify that you’re playing a positive role in the office by recognizing the work of others.
[image by Hobvias Sudoneighm]
4. Be reliable
Sometimes unpredictability is appropriate. Creativity, originality, and innovativeness all incorporate degrees of unpredictability and are good qualities for business. But if you are showing up late, forgetting important materials, or ignoring attempts at effective communication, you have crossed into the bad realm of unpredictability. Your coworkers should feel that they can count on you. Show up on time. Get back to people when they email or call. If you say you’ll complete a task, complete it. When other workers continually have to make up for your slack or keep you on task, it can be a real drain for the whole team. Being reliable doesn’t mean you have to carry the whole team’s workload on your shoulders, but it does mean that your coworkers know you will follow through and do your part to the best of your ability. [image by kristja]
5. Always remember: you’re not the only one
Many times, working well with others boils down to following the rules of common courtesy. If your voice reaches a level that shatters the recommended decibel for the human ear, your coworkers are not going to be happy. Keep any noises, such as ring tones, music, or talking, at a soft level in the office so that you won’t be disturbing someone else. Smells can also be particularly distracting, so be mindful of heating food with odors that may waft about too strongly and linger in the office.
Also, you may think that your abundant collection of figurines, pictures, and plants looks great at your desk, but your coworkers may not agree. Keep desk decorations to a tasteful amount, and don’t put anything out that will crowd, overflow, or block a coworker’s space or sightline. [image by Svilen Milev]
Overall, be happy, work hard, and show your coworkers that you care; practice your movie-star smile and get those thank-you notes ready. In times when these tips seem like a difficult task, just pretend your grandmother is watching, and you might just stay on your best behavior!