How to Get the Most Out of Professional Relationships

By Emma Mitchell

Throughout life, we experience different types of relationships. Beginning at birth, we foster connections with our parents, siblings, and elementary school friends. The journey starts with sleepovers and playdates. Slowly, these interactions transition to trips to the mall, movies, and high school prom. All in all, our interactions with those around us play a huge role in our lives.

When beginning a job in a professional setting, sparking these connections can seem daunting and new. In reality, this is something we have been doing our entire lives, but here it feels different – and rightfully so. There are new trials and tribulations we experience in an office that we do not see in other parts of our lives.

Begin on a Positive Note

Begin with your best foot forward! Make sure to acknowledge those around you and enter the workplace with an open attitude. A first impression is often very lasting, and while you may be nervous, try your best to give your new coworkers your best self.

Improve Communication Skills

By now, you are probably an expert at texting and using social media. We live in a digital age, thus a majority of us have our phones at our fingertips 24/7. Using this to your advantage can be a strong way to improve relationships with those around you. Responding quickly when contacted by your coworkers is a great way to get ahead and establish your reliability. While it is also expected and understandable to set boundaries between work and personal life, responding swiftly when you have the opportunity can be helpful to those around you.

Foster Relationships Outside the Workplace

While it might be daunting to some to mix work and personal relationships, there is nothing wrong with spending time with your coworkers outside of the office – with boundaries. Going on a hike, getting coffee, or hosting a small event at your home with those you work with can strengthen relationships and help create more chemistry when working. In big groups or one on one, organizing some get-togethers on the weekend may help foster friendships in the workplace that otherwise would never flourish.

React Positively to Constructive Criticism

There may be some situations or tasks you do not handle to the best of your ability, which your coworkers may acknowledge. This is completely normal and all a part of producing the best work you can as a team. If a coworker offers some helpful pointers, advice or calls out a flaw in one of your projects, it is best to accept it gracefully. Overall, they are simply trying to help. Be open to constructive criticism. Always remember that many of your supervisors and co-workers started right where you are, and their goal is to help you flourish and grow in the roles you take on!

Be Empathetic

With remote work, sometimes it is hard to see those around you as real people, with lives and situations outside of the office. Try to put yourself in their shoes. If a report or piece of work comes in late or not to the best of their ability, a coworker may be going through something behind the scenes that you don’t know about. Try to think of yourself and be empathetic, especially if someone in the office reaches out to you with a personal situation.