Being a great coworker can make a big difference for everyone in your workplace. Establishing and fostering relationships with the people you spend a lot of time with makes for a more enjoyable day, and it can help you advance your career.
In this article, we will look at the difference between a coworker, colleague and peer, and we’ll give some tips and best practices for being a great coworker.
What is a coworker?
A coworker is someone who works closely with you, typically in the same department or on the same team. A coworker may differ from a colleague, who can work in the same industry as you but not necessarily in the same workplace. Developing good relationships with your coworkers involves a certain level of professionalism and interpersonal skills which you can strengthen with daily practice.
Why should you be a good coworker?
Being a great coworker to others adds to a positive environment in the workplace. By adding to a collaborative workforce, you can strengthen your relationships with your coworkers and increase the overall productivity of your team. Some coworkers can even become friends outside of work if you find similar interests.
Some other benefits to being a good coworker include the following:
- Getting along with coworkers makes work more enjoyable.
- It creates a positive atmosphere.
- It promotes a collaborative environment.
- You will learn more from each other.
- You will be more likely to receive help when you need it.
- It boosts everyone’s productivity and motivation
- It increases your overall social skills.
How to be a great coworker
You should always strive to be a great person to be around at work. Understanding your coworkers, their strengths and weaknesses and how you can help them will help you become a better coworker. Follow these steps to establish yourself as a good coworker and contribute to a healthy work environment.
- Make a good first impression.
- Be patient and listen.
- Be honest.
- Respect your coworkers’ time and surroundings.
- Practice straightforward.
- Provide support.
1. Make a good first impression
Be friendly and considerate to your coworkers from the first day. Maintaining a positive attitude at the beginning of your career will make it easier for your coworkers to see you as a productive and helpful member of the team. To make sure you’re starting your career right, introduce yourself to everyone on your team and attempt to say only kind things to others.
2. Be patient and listen
Sometimes your coworkers need someone to listen to them. They may want you to hear about their frustrations or a recent success. Take the time to listen to your coworkers, and they will respect you.
Similarly, strive to treat your coworkers with respect and be polite as much as possible. Respect your coworker’s space and time. If you say “please” and “thank you” when asking for a favor, a coworker will respect you more and may be more likely to carry out that favor.
3. Respect your coworkers’ time and surroundings
Being on time shows you respect your coworkers’ and employer’s time. You should also respond to emails and voicemails within a reasonable timeframe. Sometimes people need an answer from you to proceed with their part of the process. By being prompt, you show respect for your coworkers. Make sure you include your coworkers in office events to make sure they know they are a valued part of the team.
If you are using the office kitchen, clean up after yourself. Replace items that are out of stock, such as putting a new roll of paper towels in the holder. Have a clean personal workspace and organize your email inbox to know what emails to prioritize.
4. Be honest
You should strive to be honest and accept when you make mistakes and give credit to a coworker when they’ve made a big achievement. Your coworkers will get to know you as an honest person who appreciates others. Keep everyone up to date with things you have learned and what you are doing. Your coworkers will exchange the favor with any knowledge they learn as well.
5. Practice straightforward communication
You will make your job and your coworkers’ jobs easier by practicing clear communication. Whatever you need to tell your team, share your information in a timely manner and communicate as many details as you can. An open line of communication will ensure you and your coworkers are completing the right tasks at the right time.
6. Provide support
Do your part to lighten up your workplace and encourage coworkers to enjoy work. Organize a coworker’s birthday, bring donuts on Fridays or organize team activities at a park. Leading the effort to lighten up the office will encourage others to follow.
Everyone needs to do their part to ensure that you meet your goals. If you find yourself at a slow point in your day, ask your coworkers if they need help with anything. You will be a great coworker if you can support your team members when they need it.
You can also offer support to your team by embracing new processes in your workplace. Companies are continuously introducing new rules and technologies to make processes more efficient. Learning a new process or new software will often help you in your long-term career. Be positive about change and what it can do to make your job easier, and others will follow your example.
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