Building Relationships with Co-workers


Critical to Mental Health, Productivity, and Quality Work

Do you ever get to work, turn on your computer, work through lunch, and before you know it, the time has come to pack up and go home, yet you don’t feel like you have had a real conversation with anyone? I’m sure this happens to many of us more often than we would like. The demands of work are sometimes high. If we continue to do this day in and day out, there is a price to pay, and it is a serious one both for the individual and the company.

A robust social network is associated with a reduced risk of depression and anxiety, lower levels of stress, increased motivation to engage in self-care, and longer life. Conversely, studies have noted, “Low social interaction was reported to be similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and being an alcoholic, to be more harmful than not exercising, and to be twice as harmful as obesity.”

I am certainly not saying don’t work hard, but I am saying that humans were not created to live isolated and alone. We all inherently need relationships. All of us want to feel valued, heard, and loved. When we don’t, there are consequences such as irritability, loneliness, and increased stress. From a business perspective, those who don’t intentionally prioritize relationships are less collaborative and less productive at work.

More than 3 in 5 employees with high social connectivity report being highly engaged, whereas just over 1 in 10 employees with low social connectivity consider themselves highly engaged at work. Employees with strong social bonds with their coworkers are more motivated to perform. Individuals who report having a best friend at work are seven times more likely to exhibit better engagement, customer relations, work quality, wellbeing, and a lower risk of injury.

When was the last time you asked someone about their life? Not just, “How was your weekend?” but things like, “What kind of stuff do you do outside of work?” or “I saw the birth announcement of your daughter. How is parenthood treating you?” On the flip side, you must allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to share things about your life with others. Some of us are uncomfortable doing this, but if you start sharing even a few details about yourself, you will develop relationships that will change you, your attitude, and your health.

Over time these relationships get stronger as trust builds. Trust fosters kindness, generosity, and appreciation. All of these are things I believe are things we want, need, and desire.

If you are someone whose job is to manage others, it is imperative that you build strong relationships with your team. Do you recall having a boss that only talked to you when they needed something from you? How did this make you feel? Did you feel a sense of loyalty to that person? Outstanding leaders are masters at building solid connections with those that work for them. It has been said that people JOIN companies, people LEAVE managers. I think we can all resonate with this statement. As a manager, schedule time in the week to touch base, open up and connect genuinely with your team. I guarantee you will find your team more engaged and productive, take on more accountability instead of blaming others, and solidly have your back.

The next time you find yourself staring at your computer screen for hours upon hours, take a time out and get out of your chair to connect with someone for a few minutes. The benefits of really getting to know someone are exponential.


Vice President of Human Resources

Call 440.396.3696 | Email Jeff | View Profile

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