Whether you consider this fact disheartening or motivating, you can't deny its truth: You probably spend more time with your co-workers than you do with anyone else.
When you're in the office at least 40 hours per week, the people you work with become a big part of your life. So it pays to have solid relationships with them.
Not only does that give you a strategic advantage in the workplace (hey, it never hurts to be well-liked!), it also makes work that much more enjoyable.
If you don't consider yourself particularly close with your colleagues, don't worry—cultivating a more caring and supportive atmosphere at work doesn't need to be a complicated undertaking.
Here are four super simple things you can do to show your co-workers that you care and, as a result, make your office a place that you look forward to spending time in.
1. Offer Help
Think of the last time you were struggling at work. Maybe you were swamped and overwhelmed, or perhaps you were stuck on a challenging project.
Wouldn't it have been nice if someone had stopped by your desk and provided some advice? Or even offered to take something off your plate? Wouldn't that alone have made you feel so much more valued and supported?
Absolutely. So, why not do that same thing for a colleague? When you see someone who's stressed or confused, just ask: Is there anything I can do to help?
Even if your co-worker doesn't actually take you up on your offer, just the fact that you recognized the challenge and wanted to do something about it goes a long way in fostering a more empathetic culture.
2. Get Personal
No, you don't need to get too personal—after all, you're still in the office.
But, even though you're in a work setting, aim to forge a relationship with the whole person—not just a job title.
This means that the more you can get to know about your colleagues' interests and passions outside the office, the easier it will be to connect with them on a more human level.
Whether it's asking about his marathon training or admiring her desktop background featuring a photo from her recent vacation, don't neglect to strike up the occasional small talk. Doing so will demonstrate your investment in them, while also giving you common ground that you can use to connect even further.
3. Provide Recognition
Everybody loves to get a pat on the back for a job well done—that's universal. But gratitude and adequate recognition can easily fall by the wayside when we're wrapped up in the chaos of our everyday lives.
Step up and be that colleague who always applauds the hard work of your team members. Maybe that involves sending a quick Slack message to let her know how much you enjoyed her presentation. Or, perhaps it means highlighting your co-worker's contributions when your boss commends you for your own hard work on a recent project.
These sorts of comments might seem small, but they can make a huge impact when it comes to helping others in your office feel valued.
4. Do Something Nice
Little acts of kindness won't go unnoticed—particularly in the office. So, when's the last time you did something nice just because you felt like it?
Go ahead and pick up some bagels on your way into work one morning (when in doubt, free food is always effective). When you're heading out for lunch, ask that colleague who looks insanely busy if you can get anything for him.
Your co-workers are sure to appreciate those little niceties and treats that you sneak in every now and then. Plus, as an added bonus, doing these sorts of things makes you feel good too!
These four strategies are great for showing your co-workers that you actually care about them. And they're incredibly simple and take almost zero effort on your part.
So, if you're eager to forge better, more supportive relationships with your colleagues (and if you aren't, you definitely should be!), put these four tips to work. You're sure to become one of the most-liked people in your office—while simultaneously cultivating a more positive atmosphere for your entire team.
Photo of co-workers in hallway courtesy of PeopleImages/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author
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