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Ten Ways to Be a Better Coworker

How to Be a Better Coworker
Vadim Guzhva/123RF.com

From friendships to romantic partners, relationships often take work. Relationships with coworkers also require a little nurturing. Depending on your work schedule, you might spend 40 or more hours a week with your colleagues. It’s important to develop a positive relationship with your workmates for several reasons.

Why Strong Coworker Relationships are Important

Your coworkers can make all the difference in how well you like going to work. Even if you love the job, if relationships with colleagues are weak, it can make you dread your next shift. Positive relationships with coworkers are essential for the following reasons:

It builds trust: Trust is essential in any relationship, and that includes with your colleagues. The stronger your relationships are with your coworkers, the more likely you are to trust them. Having people around you at work that you trust is great when you need another opinion on how to handle a situation. If you work well with your colleagues, it can make meeting the challenges of the job a little easier.

Provides support: We can all use a bit of help on the job. That support system provides a sense of comradery. You may need to lean on your team in both practical ways, such as assisting with a task, and emotionally when times get tough. Plus, no one else but another healthcare worker can understand how you can be up to your elbows in body fluids and go to lunch ten minutes later.

Makes your work life better: Having coworkers that you like helps make the workday more enjoyable. Whether you need help with a difficult patient or just need a laugh, having people you work well with makes the shift more fun!

How to Become a Better Coworker

If you’re lucky, your co-workers are like your second family. For some people, positive relationships with their colleagues come easily. In other instances, it might take a little work to build strong bonds. Either way, good relationships start with you. Consider the tips below to become a better coworker.

  1. Have your coworker’s back: Working in healthcare is often a team effort. All members of the team need to work together for a common goal. Do your best to be cooperative, flexible, and a team player. Whether you are in a code blue or your coworker is having a bad day, have their back.
  2. Communicate honestly: Being upfront and having open communication is not the same thing as being rude. Say want you mean respectfully. Your colleagues can’t read your mind. If there is an issue, it’s best to talk about the situation honestly and figure out how to fix the problem.
  3. Don’t gossip: Don’t participate in backstabbing or talking about the latest rumor. Gossiping is a sure way to lose your coworker’s respect. Regardless of how juicy the rumor or gossip is, steer clear.
  4. Lend an ear: Working in healthcare can be stressful. Situations are challenging, and sometimes you need to vent. When colleagues needs to get something off their chest, be willing to listen with a nonjudgmental ear. Sometimes just venting helps.
  5. Be on time: Few things are as annoying as waiting at the end of your shift for a late coworker to arrive to get report and take over for you. Respect everyone’s time. Get to work a little early and be ready to go at the start of your shift.
  6. Don’t always talk shop: Try to get to know a little about your coworkers. While you don’t have to become best friends with everyone, getting to know your colleagues on a personal level, builds trust and improves bonds.
  7. Mend differences: Even families argue sometimes. When you work day in and day out with the same people, you are bound to have a few differences. Don’t hesitate to apologize for your part in an argument and be quick to accept an apology. None of us are perfect, and sometimes it’s best to get over it and move on.
  8. Help out: If you see a coworker overwhelmed with work, ask how you can help. We have all been there with too many tasks to get through and not enough time. When possible, pick up a little slack and ease the load. Most likely, someday, your coworkers will return the favor.
  9. Welcome newbies: Do you remember your first day on the job? It can be a bit intimidating to be the new kid on the block. Reach out to new employees to help them feel at ease.
  10. Show appreciation: Everyone likes an occasional pat on the back for a job well done. Be generous with sincere gratitude. If your coworker goes above and beyond, make sure you acknowledge her actions.

By implementing some of the suggestions above, you can do your part to build stronger relationships with your coworkers. What do you do to try to be a better coworker?

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About MaryAnn DePietro

MaryAnn DePietro has been a health and medical writer for over a decade. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and health websites. MaryAnn holds a degree in rehabilitation and also in respiratory therapy. In addition to writing, she works as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in northern California.