SELF HELP RESOURCE - Work / Workplace Relationships

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When it comes to reaching out to a colleague or peer in the same working space as you, it is often viewed as networking. In today's continuously evolving world, finding a job and building a career is as much about who you know as it is about what you know. Having a diverse network gives you access to more opportunities, broadens the voices and perspectives you are welcoming into your life, and diminishes the power that any one person may hold over you and your choices. Having a diverse network in the workplace also satisfies our need for connection in one place where we spend most of our time. 

If you're still unconvinced, here's an insightful look into the reasons that make networking a great skill to learn and practise at the workplace: 

  1. Feeling connected and good mental health: A feeling of not belonging, not having a sense of community can negatively affect a person at work. Feeling left out or as if your role is not as meaningful as that of others and being restricted only to functional communication can have a damaging effect on an individual. Connecting with colleagues and peers allows you to develop a communal feeling, making you feel more connected at work. 
  2. Provides much-needed support in a time of need: Talking to a colleague who has an inadequate support system at home, or whose domestic environment is risk-heavy (especially when they are new to the town/city and have no network of friends to reach out to), sharing what's on their mind is often the only source of support for a person. By doing this, help for necessary interventions, sharing of resources to get through a difficult period, and other modes of sharing aid are possible. 
  3. Creates a more inclusive workspace: A sense of inclusivity or belonging for someone who faces a lack of acceptance in society - because of their sexuality, caste, being differently-abled, living with chronic mental health issues - can be an immense source of support for them. It can help them feel less lonely, feel validated in their daily life. When it comes to networking, it might appear as if being around like-minded people might be useful. However, we must remember that each person is unique. There is much to be learnt from someone else with varied experiences of the world, too.  
  4. Encourages collaborative problem-solving: Having a strong sense of connection at work can mean that a good portion of the stress fallout from work gets managed to a large extent. For example, the feeling of being stuck at work can be resolved by talking to a colleague who may have faced a similar problem before. Or maybe, you didn't view another person as a potential mentor, but that changed when they provided you with deep insights once you had an open conversation with them during a challenging phase. 
  5. It get you access to valuable resources: Endorsing your skills, writing glowing letters of commendation, providing you great opportunities to work on, finding mentors who lift you up and help you get your career on track — you can achieve all this by making the right connections at your workplace. 

Relationships, belonging, and inclusion are the fundamental tenets that go a long way in improving a person's emotional health and well-being. A supportive working environment can often be the very thing needed to help someone sail through a tough time. Now that we have gone into the details of how networking at work benefits us let's see the ways you can start doing it right away! 

 5 Tips For Building Meaningful Connections At Work : 

  • Start small with the people you know: Start interacting more with the people you know or have to interact with every day. Not only will this help you develop your network-building skills in a safe environment, you never know the contacts you will gain from talking to the people who are closest to you.  

  • Have a purpose or a goal: Start with something concrete. Set a goal or two for the next few months. Maybe identify one person to connect with per month or choose a few events that you can attend to broaden your connections. Be intentional about which individuals you want to communicate with and why.  

  • Volunteer: A lot of people find it very intimidating to approach strangers and communicate with them. A way to conquer this fear is to find opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering in an event allows you to be there in an official capacity, with something constructive to do while creating an opportunity for you to meet and mingle with those present. 

  • Have rewarding interactions: While interacting or communicating with a person, create an upbeat and positive atmosphere to feel valued.  

  • Ask questions: Asking questions and listening attentively to the other person creates rewarding interactions. Prioritise getting to know the other person before talking about yourself. 

Effective networking is critical for career success and for your success in social life. It is also a skill that you can take with you wherever you go, so start honing it for a brighter future. 

 

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