New research shows that we spend about 52 hours on an average in office (Harvard Business Review, 2016). Given that we spend so much of our time at work, creating a healthy workplace relationship could go a long way in ensuring a sense of peace and satisfaction for each of us.
According to 2017 SHRM survey, respectful treatment of all employees at all levels and trust between employee and senior management contributes to high job satisfaction. Research shows that in the absence of this, employees could have feelings of resentment and hostility towards others. This, in turn, could lead to increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, teamwork and team satisfaction and possibly increased turnover.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when working towards creating a healthy work environment:
Fostering a positive work- environment:
- Listen: Listening is the key. Actively listening to others’ opinion with the acknowledgement that each employee might see things differently could not only foster a positive work environment but also makes them feel heard and respected.
- Appreciate: ‘You are never too old to praise and be praised”. Mutual respect of the team members by constant and rightful appreciation works as a positive reinforcement at work.
- Communicate assertively: Stating expectations, making boundaries and giving opinions without being hurtful could give space to people in the workplace to be more authentic about their own feelings. The ‘how’ we speak is more important than what we speak. Being more mindful of the body posture, tone and pitch of the voice, eye contact during conversations does contribute to having a more fruitful conversation as the speaker might be perceived as approachable and friendly.
- Accept: Every individual is different. Acknowledging that everybody contributes to the diversity at the workplace and thus, serves a different dish on the table, could make one more receptive of their attitudes, cultures and personalities. An all-inclusive group with a common organizational goal could motivate one to be confident in putting their opinions without hesitation and thus, can engage one better in the brainstorming sessions.
- Plan: Planning for the various situations and keeping to those commitments could be highly appreciated where each individual’s work is dependent on the completion of the other person’s task. While failure in completing certain tasks due to unforeseen circumstances could sometimes be inevitable, keeping others informed about the same could contribute to a team where everybody feels that their time and contribution is equally respected.
- Conflict –Resolution: Conflicts of opinions due to the difference in cultural backgrounds, age, gender, work- experience, and field of specialization could be something that might take a toll on all the efforts one might have taken to create a positive network at the workplace.
In such situations where there might be a conflict or difference of opinion, some things to be kept in mind could be:
- Take personal accountability for restoring trust (making efforts or taking smaller initiatives like openly communicating, having regular conversations and planning for the same vs. waiting for the other person to miraculously come to their senses and change their behaviour, for which the possibilities can be very bleak). In this case, it is important to recognize that making any efforts or merely trying to is going to be worthwhile, so plan out ways to do this.
- Look for ways in which you can start to value the relationships you share with your co-worker.
- Understand the dynamics of the relationship and make changes to what is not working. For instance, focusing on what is under your control and what is not. Your colleague may be rude or even highly competitive; however, you would not be able to change the way that they are and perhaps you can look at accepting that their view of the situation can also be valid (even though it conflicts with yours) since it stems from their personality which you certainly cannot change. This can help you to see the other person in a new light (i.e. trying to do their best) and to rationalize their actions and behaviours (why they are the way they are and their reasons for doing particular things) which initially might have been the reason for conflict.
- Forgiveness – this does not mean forgetting what the other person has done or even the circumstances. Instead, it is making the decision to let go of what has happened to be able to make peace with the emotional experiences. You need to do this for yourself and not for others.
The above steps can help one in creating a positive network at work. After all, one’s workplace relationships with subordinates, supervisors and management could be an important predictor of how much one looks forward to going to office every day.
If you would like to discuss this further with a counsellor, please feel free to reach out to us on 1800-270-1790.