The average employee in the UK now works nearly 44 hours per week, and for many of us that means a lot of time in the office. Given how much time we spend in the office, and how much of that time is spent interacting with colleagues, it’s important for everyone to play a part in creating a positive working environment.
In any business, especially in today’s fast-moving and competitive market, there will be events that are outside your control – new projects, organisational changes, budget cuts.
However, the one thing you can control is your own approach to the way you interact with your colleagues. The way that you behave and respond to change will influence those around you – if you have a practical, positive outlook, then you will find that others respond in the same way. Together you will achieve more, enjoy work more, and deal with the stress much better. And in the long-term it will be much better for your career.
Here are some tips to helping create a positive working environment.
Get the basics right – Are you on time? Do you answer the phone quickly and professionally? If you are out of the office, do your team know where you are? Hard to believe that sometimes people don’t get the basics right, but these are the simple principles that underpin everything else.
Be polite and professional at all times – It sounds obvious, but under pressure it’s easy to lose your cool and treat someone with disrespect. On the other side of the coin, it’s good to have a sense of humour and to share a joke with colleagues, but avoid being the office prankster – you should set a good example when it comes to focussing on work.
Be honest and act with integrity – Don’t get drawn into the office rumour mill. You risk building a reputation for being a gossip, and in an office environment having a reputation for integrity is paramount.
Use compliments honestly – Don’t miss an opportunity to praise a colleague for something they’ve done that has impressed you, even if it’s a small thing. But don’t over-use insincere compliments.
Be supportive and collaborative – One of the most important things in contributing to a successful team is to be collaborative. When you see colleagues under pressure, ask if there is anything you can do to help to ease the burden – even if the answer is ‘no’, people will appreciate your support.
Treat everyone equally – It doesn’t matter what role someone has in the company, they are there to do a job and to help the whole organisation succeed. Don’t get hung-up on hierarchies in the office – treat everyone at every level with the same respect.
Take some time to think about your interactions with your colleagues over the last few weeks – and remember, being successful isn’t just about ‘what’ you achieve – it’s also about ‘how’ you achieve it.
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