Wednesday, July 11, 2018

3 Ways to Better Connect With Co-Workers

If you could spend 40 to 50 hours per week with a handful of (living) people, who would you pick?

Chances are you are going to say your significant other, best friend, some famous actor or actress and possibly even your favorite bartender.

It's unlikely you will choose to spend so many hours with people you don't know well -- and on the surface seem like people who are weird or boring or both.

But isn't that we all do every week at work? Spend a great portion of our time with people we don't know well -- and judge to be less than ideal?

In the workplace, you're asked to be on teams with people who have different backgrounds, ideas and skills. You may feel you have nothing in common with these people, and that can make your job more miserable than it needs to be. Or, it could be that you feel you're the "different" one and can't seem to connect with colleagues.

There's a lot of advantages to finding more ways to connect with your co-workers. You will be happier. They will be happier. Work will be less stressful. 

Let's look at some ways to make a friendlier connection at work:

1.  Eat together. Sitting down at a table and eating together is one of the most effective ways to get to know someone in a more relaxed atmosphere.  It's a chance for you to ask questions about non-work related matters, such as "What's your favorite food?" "What's the worst thing you've ever eaten?" "Are there any good restaurants I should try this weekend?" Ask colleagues to lunch or join them in the break room.

2.  Talk about pop culture. Whether it's music, movies, television or books, people often have "favorites." You can say something like, "I see you're reading the latest Stephen King. Is this one you would recommend?" Or, you can try, "I'm looking for something new to watch on Netflix. Does anyone have a recommendation?" 

3. Circulate. Don't sit down at your work station at 8 a.m. and only get up when it's time to go home. Move around periodically, stopping to compliment a great super hero poster in someone's cubicle or say, "I'm headed to Starbucks -- anyone want to tag along?" You don't want to interrupt people when they're obviously concentrating on a task, but make friendly overtures throughout the day and soon you will feel like you're among friends.

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