It’s not a secret that most of spend us more time with our coworkers then we do with our friends, families and, significant others. If you work at a start-up (as many of us do), you are also probably working with a small number of people in an even smaller space. These are all reasons why it is so important to be a good coworker.
Don’t Take Part in Gossip
Office gossip may seem like an unavoidable side-effect of professional life but it can have disastrous effects on a company’s productivity and morale. As tempting as it can be to quietly criticize a coworker’s lack of performance to a friend at lunch, this is not a harmless act. Negative opinions of a coworker can spread like the flu and severely damage a person’s professional reputation. These sorts of comments are often based on one limited interaction and can overlook an employee’s overall contribution to a company.If you really feel the need to vent about a coworker’s performance, save it for a friend or loved one outside of your professional life. If you think that person’s mistakes are putting your career or your company’s success at risk, then you owe to yourself and your coworker to have an honest conversation about how you are feeling. Put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn’t you rather confront this sort of conflict head on instead of hearing that your coworkers have been talking about you behind your back? I would.
If you are a hard-worker and good at your job, there is a likely chance that you will eventually be rewarded for your hard work. This may come in the form or a raise, or a promotion, or both. It is important to remain humble when good fortune presents itself to you in a professional setting.Be aware of how you present this information to your coworkers. You want to avoid rubbing it in their faces or making them feel like they are insufficient in any way. Leadership is about lifting others up, not making them feel bad. If your success comes in the form of a raise, it is very poor form to tell your coworkers. Focus on making everyone in the office feel as valuable as the next.
Make An Effort To See Coworkers Outside of Work
Creating friendships at work is very important. You spend more time with your coworkers than anyone else in your life. It is crucial that you not only tolerate each other’s company, but enjoy it. Make a point to be friendly and inclusive. There is nothing more alienating in an office setting than a clique-y dynamic that makes others feel unwanted.If you really want to build on these professional friendships, make an effort to see your coworkers outside of the office. Invite them along to outings with your other friends or simply try to grab a drink once a week.
Don’t Be A Slob
If you don’t think there is a slob working at your office… It’s probably you. Make an effort to keep your workspace and common spaces nice and neat. Messy coworkers are well documented as one of the most common workplace annoyances, and for good reason.It’s always good to maintain a level of cleanliness and order to the workplace and one bad apple can make the entire organization look bad. By keeping an organized office/cubicle/desk, you will promote professionalism and efficiency. Also, I’m sure your cubicle-mate is not thrilled about having to throw out your half full soda cans every day.
Avoid Talking About the Weather
This is the most important item on the list. Do not talk about the weather. I repeat… DO NOT talk about the weather. If there is an unforeseen weather event like a blizzard, tornado or heatwave, then it might be okay, but even then, avoid it! Nothing suggests that you have no interest in your coworkers more than bringing up the weather while waiting for the coffee maker.Take an interest in your coworkers. Learn their passions, their living situations, their world views. Be a good listener and don’t be afraid to share personal details about your life. Trust me, Karen would much rather hear about your family than that cold front rolling in from Canada.