Posted by Rebekah McLain on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 08:30
How well do you know your colleagues? Sure, you know that Keisha sits in the cube to the left, and Brian works on the second floor. But do you really know who they are?
Granted, work is not a social event. But there’s something to be said for getting better acquainted with your coworkers. For starters, familiarity can help you all work better as a team. Plus, it can make your day at the office a little more pleasant. Let’s take a look at how you can break down the cube.
1. Say hello and goodbye.
It’s a small interaction that’s often overlooked in the rush to start working or get out of the office. But these brief greetings can change a person’s day for the better. For instance, offering a cheerful “good morning” could help relieve a coworker’s awful commute. And wishing someone a good weekend could provide just the right touch after five days spent meeting tough job demands.
2. Make small talk.
Have you ever been in the elevator with someone from your company you don’t know well and used your phone to avoid small talk? Many of us have. However, this action sends the message that your device is more important than the person nearby. You might think you look busy, but the other party may think you’re antisocial. Take some time to chat during these down moments.
3. Celebrate non-work events.
Acknowledge your coworkers’ lives outside the office through small gestures that can bring people together. For example, print out signs for coworkers on their birthdays, or remind others with a quick email. If a colleague needs sponsors for a charity run, rally the team’s support. Or if coworkers are preparing for maternity or paternity leave, ask your boss if you can throw a lunchtime shower. These simple actions can add some warmth to your office environment.
4. Avoid hiding behind emails.
In most cases, effective business emails are the best means of getting the answers you need. However, you may sometimes find yourself trapped in a constant back-and-forth with coworkers. When this happens, drop by their desk to hash out the details of specific challenges (asking first if they have a moment, of course). Or if they’re open to a working lunch, try discussing matters over a meal. You’ll not only have a chance to bond with coworkers, but the change of scenery may inspire new ideas.
While getting to know your coworkers, you do need to exercise some caution. You don’t want to cross the line between polite professionalism and personal intrusion. So keep questions and conversations on a work-appropriate, yet friendly level, and you’ll be well on your way to making your office a brighter place.
How has getting to know your coworkers improved your office environment? Let us know in the comments.
Looking for advice on business etiquette? Visit our Free Resources page.