What constitutes a great work environment? We know that the morale of a company is often initiated by its overall culture and management techniques; yet, how can coworkers create positive sentiments among one another? While there is a vast amount of information available on how to be a valuable employee to your boss, it’s less often that we take into consideration the importance of being a great coworker.

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The importance of being a great coworker

According to Marketing and Agency writer, Carly Stec, in the article, “The Art of Being a Great Coworker: 13 Ways to Improve Your Work Relationships”, we spend 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year at work, which is more than 2,000 hours a year spent at our jobs. Therefore, it is only reasonable that we would want to get along with our coworkers.

Environment. Even if you love what you do for a living, you may not necessarily be comfortable with the culture or atmosphere of the organization you work for. Are your coworkers at odds or not getting along?  Is there an undercurrent of competitiveness or even inconsideration? We all aim to work in an environment where employees do their best to get along and support one another, but tensions among coworkers can create a less than ideal situation.

Stress & Productivity. Where there is tension, there is likely stress, and when there is a significant amount of stress, productivity levels can plummet. Instead of being focused on the task at hand, workers sometimes become consumed with “office politics” and other distracting intricacies.

Support Group. Many employees may not realize it, but other than family and close friends, trusted coworkers can sometimes be excellent source of support. If, for example, you are experiencing some personal problems, a more encouraging coworker may donate some of their vacation days to you while other coworkers may help lighten your work load.

Tips for being a great coworker

In his article, “Top 3 Reasons It Is Important to Get Along with Coworkers: Getting Along with Your Manager, Coworkers and Clients”, employment author, Harrison Barnes wrote, “The number one job skill of the 21st century is the ability to build and keep working relationships.” With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you be the best coworker you can be.

  1. Follow the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.
  2. Give praise and credit where they are due. If someone has done an excellent job, make sure you let them know you noticed and appreciated it. Never take credit for something that you didn’t do.
  3. Don’t fall into the gossip trap. Gossip is so common it’s practically a staple in some office environments, but that doesn’t mean you need to contribute to it. Rumors and gossip are hurtful and, in many cases, exaggerated or even outright incorrect.
  4. Share your resources. Even if your job is very competitive, sharing your resources will help your coworker as well as your employer. It will reduce stress, diminish any possible tension between yourself and the coworker, and may even lead to that same coworker sharing and helping you as well.
  5. Since everyone enjoys a delicious snack at work from time to time, to break up the monotony, consider bringing in some treats now and then to lift morale. It provides the opportunity to get to know your coworkers a little better, while also showing that you’re a friendly, approachable person.

Related: When and How to Ask for Help at Work

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Being a great coworker doesn’t have to be difficult.  Simply remembering to offer the same consideration to others as you wish to receive will create an improved work environment and a happier disposition among all.

Fred Coon, CEO

At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.