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How to Be a Great Coworker

Many of us spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our loved ones.

So, if you’re surrounded by coworkers for eight hours or more, five days a week, 50 or so weeks a year, you want to be around people you like. Or at least people with whom you can get along.

So how can you ensure this? Well, we can’t pick our coworkers (unless we do the hiring), but we can be a great coworkers ourselves. Why? Because being a great colleague actually can help others become great coworkers. It creates a more collaborative atmosphere, builds a more positive environment and increases everyone’s productivity and motivation.

Five tips to help you become a great coworker

  1. Steer clear of gossip.

While you want to be friendly with your colleagues, aim to avoid listening to and spreading gossip.

Gossip tends to pull people apart. And often, it’s not true.

Even low-level types of gossip (“Joan is starting to make eyes at that cute guy over in returns sorting”) can be dangerous. You want to share good news, of course (“Jake just told us his wife is expecting their first child!”), but it’s best to politely remove yourself from discussions that start to disrespect coworkers, make harsh–or even unkind criticism–of others, etc.

And, it goes without saying, never spread gossip yourself.

  1. Acknowledge coworkers when they do good work

Who says only managers/supervisors are the ones to give praise to people?

How about praising someone during a department meeting for kindness or a task well done? For example, send a thank you card to a colleague who helped you in a pinch.

Find a way to praise everyone in your work circle at least once or twice a month. You will make their day (rewarding in itself), and you’ll find that when you need them (to finish up a project at the last minute, to cover for you when you need to scram for a family emergency, etc.), they’ll be there for you.

  1. Be considerate.

Do you like to chew gum and pop it? If so, do you understand how annoying that can be to people nearby? If you work near others, consider not doing so during the workday. (Or at least not popping it!)

The same goes for listening to music: the creation of noise-cancelling earbuds means no one needs to listen to YOUR music. (And vice versa.) And of course, you’ll want to be sure it’s OK to listen to music in your workplace, first.

Make sure to clean up your workspace if it’s shared. The same goes for the break room. And watch the cell phone conversations when people are trying to concentrate.

Think about it: if something annoys you, it probably annoys others. Keep in mind how your habits/actions might come across to others.

  1. Contribute to the snack pile – or bring some yourself.

Even if you never eat the donuts or cookies found in the break room, be a pal and bring some now and then.

If you don’t want to bring junk food, bring bagels, sandwiches, fruit, etc. The small gesture of bringing treats to your workplace can go a long way in making someone’s day.

  1. Share resources.

We’re not talking paperclips and paper or work gloves (if you have an extra pair), although if you have enough to share, share.

Instead, we mean resources such as interesting and valuable blog posts, videos, or articles you find. They could be work or company-related, but even sharing career tips or motivational articles is a wonderful thing to do.

Hire Dynamics can find you new coworkers.

If you consider yourself a great coworker but feel YOUR colleagues are anything but, consider finding some new ones with Hire Dynamics’ help.

Check out our current openings and then either apply for the ones that appeal to you or register with us so we can contact you when a position that fits your skills and interests comes up.