Being the newest member of an office can be pretty challenging. It's almost like in high school when you're the new kid on the block. Everyone's looking at you but you're not sure if they're going to be friends or foes.
So, you carefully gauge how to become part of the group. Keep in mind that you're joining a workplace that already has established dynamics. You can't just come in and say, "Hey, let's be friends. I can take over some of your tasks." You should get to know everyone first, observe how they interact, and decide on what you can do to earn your co-workers' trust.
We all know that things get done in a more efficient and pleasant manner when you get along with the people you work with. Being friends with your co-workers is a priceless benefit that could even spell the difference between you staying in the office for years or bolting for the door in just a few weeks.
Here are five ways to bond and connect better with your co-workers:
1. Make An Effort Outside The Office
When you can, make an effort to mingle with your co-workers after office hours or during meetings. You can get a quick bite and talk about what happened at work that day. Ask them about their neighborhood ("Have you lived there long?"), their families ("How many kids do you have?"), and their interests ("Are you into snowboarding?").
Be curious about your co-workers, but don't be intrusive. They will share more information with you once you gain their trust. It also helps if you volunteer information about yourself—but nothing too intimate or too shocking, okay?
2. Stop Complaining About Work
Unless you're all sitting around releasing tension about the stress you all experience at work, it's best if you don't bring up negative things about the workplace.
You might be stressed but that's no reason to dump all your frustrations on your co-workers. There are different strategies for handling stress that don't involve annoying the people you work with. After all, you're all working for the same company. Even if you don't really like the way things are done, some of your co-workers may have different opinions.
3. Look For Common Ground
A great way to find out more about your co-workers is to connect on social media. On Facebook, for instance, you can easily see what groups they're in and what shows they watch.
You can start a conversation during downtime at work about any of these things. You can ask, "Who's your favorite character on The Walking Dead?" or "Oh, your grandparents are from Ireland? Mine are too."
It may start out as small talk but it may also pave the way for a long-lasting friendship that goes beyond the workplace.
4. Collaborate On Projects
Obviously, you can't do everything alone. When working on a project, see which tasks you need help with. Seek out your co-workers' guidance—the senior staff members, especially—because they often have a better or faster way of doing things. Identify your co-workers' strengths and ask for their help on matters that need their expertise.
For instance, you can ask your office accountant to take a look at your financial report. You can say, "I need a fresh pair of eyes. Please have a look if you're not busy." Emphasize that you value your co-workers' input but make it clear that you're not totally dependent on them. You'll earn their respect if you show that you're capable and good at what you do.
5. Share Credit (Don't Hog All The Glory)
Don't claim that you did everything, especially when you didn't. For example, when your boss praises you for a good idea that didn't actually come from you, you can say, "That wasn't my idea. It was Kelly's."
If you're still apprehensive about being accepted by your co-workers, just remember to do your job efficiently and promptly. Then, top it off with being nice and sincere. You certainly can't go wrong with that strategy.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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