Why You Should Value Your Work Relationships More
Career Tips & Advice
- Being friends with your colleagues helps keep each workday something to look forward to.
- Bettering your work relationships offers you an opportunity to learn more and upskill.
- By being friendly with your co-workers, you can have someone to vouch for you when you need it.
- Connections also benefit you outside the workplace.
As an employee, you will inevitably find yourself working alongside fellow employees. It may be possible to just focus solely on your work and treat your co-workers as acquaintances, and the current virtual work environment already makes interaction outside work-related matters seem like an unnecessary hassle. However, there are many reasons why you should not neglect your work relationships and why fostering meaningful ones benefits both you and many others.
Better work experience
If you work a standard eight-hour shift, that’s already a third of the day spent with your co-workers. That’s a lot of time to just be on your own devices, and sooner or later you may find yourself demotivated to clock in because it may just be too dreary or monotonous. Being friends with your colleagues helps keep each workday something to look forward to. Social distancing has made it difficult to address our social needs as humans, and so having amiable work relationships is also a step towards taking care of our wellbeing. The CIPD Good Work Index’s 2021 survey of workers’ experience across the UK shows that positive work relationships are associated with better well-being and job performance.
Team building activities have been a staple for many workplaces, and for a good reason—a better understanding of each other makes it easier to collaborate and complete objectives. When everyone is on the same page, it is easier to move things along and solve potential issues. It also helps minimize conflict and sort it out in an agreeable manner. A 2021 survey by My Perfect Resume says that 80% of U.S. workers have experienced conflict in the remote workplace. Conflict, especially if unresolved, becomes a breeding ground for hostility and discouragement, which lowers morale and prevents things from getting done.
Apart from collaborative efforts, bettering your work relationships offers you an opportunity to learn more and upskill. You can tap into co-workers who specialize in something you have difficulty with and educate yourself, and as thanks for their advice you can give back with your own knowledge and experience as well. This mutually beneficial arrangement eventually upscales the quality of everyone’s work results, and you can apply your newly learned skills later on in a future project or job.
By being friendly with your co-workers, you can have someone to vouch for you when you need it. Your boss may be more likely to accept your requests for a raise or promotion if they find that a lot of people say that you deserve it. Down the line, you may also find yourself looking to further your career and may need some references to apply for another job. When that time comes, your employers would be willing if not outright glad to recommend you to your future employers because you have taken the time to strengthen your ties with them back then.
Connections also benefit you outside the workplace. Maybe your co-workers know someone or something that you need, such as the best babysitters in town or where to find good apartments. They may have pointed you to the very career opportunity you wanted to apply for earlier. There is only so much you can know and look up on the internet, and where else to find information and second opinions other than from people who personally know you and have your best interests in mind.
The old saying goes, “No man is an island,” but it holds all the more meaning in an era where isolation and worry are the norm. More than ever, humans should support each other during these trying times, whether in the workplace or outside it. It may be difficult to commit to improving work relationships in the virtual workplace, but rest assured that doing so will not only make you grow as an employee, but also as a person.