Health + wellbeing

5 ways to build great relationships at work

- December 10, 2020 2 MIN READ

2020 has tested every single one of us. The emotional rollercoaster is windier than many of us have ever experienced… And naturally, there have been moments when people in our lives – at work – have seen us not at our best, and vice versa. If you’d like to boost your relationships at work, here are 5 ideas:

Express thanks

There are lots of ways to show gratitude. An email, a text, a social media shout-out, an in-person or over zoom/phone “thank you”. So you both feel the glow, tell the other person exactly why their help was so important. Perhaps they pepped you up on a tough day, or taught you something you needed to learn. Maybe their eye for design enhanced the project or their technical skills saved the day!

Find the fun

Crack a joke, enjoy a joke, find the silly in the everyday. TV shows have certainly shown us how much lightness and humour can be found at work. Even when there’s pressure or a day seems a tad mundane, try to find the fun. Everyone appreciates a laugh at work – whether it’s a workmate, a client or a business partner. Laughter and a shared sense of humour are wonderful ways to build friendships and relieve stress.

Show your humanity

The way we express our vulnerabilities is deeply personal and our comfort levels vary greatly. But… letting work people know a little bit about you – the flaws-and-all, real life part – can be a powerful way to connect. You’re connecting through your shared humanity and encouraging others to share with you. When someone does open up to you, support them in the very best way you can. Sharing a weakness also relieves the pressure to be ‘perfect’. You don’t need to aspire to it because you’ve acknowledged it doesn’t exist. It is important to be mindful of what you reveal, to who, and in what environment/time, but certainly expressing some vulnerability can help people relate to you and build relationships. 


Technical/mentoring/emotional support. Give what you can when you can. If you can’t help someone with a work problem but you know who or what can, refer them to the best source, whether it’s a person or an online link. If you can’t help right now, get back to them at a particular time. And if what you can offer is a laugh, kind words or encouragement, do that.

Connect (there’s always a way)

There are lots of ways to personally connect with someone at work – even when your temperaments or values are different. So, what are the common links? Do you both have children? Have partners who cycle? Love cooking? Are you both huge tennis fans? Find the connection and enjoy it. People want to feel seen and heard so give the person you’re talking to your full attention and show interest in who they are and what’s important to them. 

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