Colleagues are key to happiness at work

Getting on with your co-workers is the number one reason to feel happy at work, according to a new poll published by Barclays. 26% of 2,000 people surveyed said that getting on well with colleagues made their work more enjoyable, narrowly ahead of striking ‘a good work-life balance’ (24%). Here’s how it breaks down:

Happiness at work: top 10 factors

  1. I get on well with my colleagues (26%)
  2. I have a good work-life balance (24%)
  3. It’s something I believe in (21%)
  4. I think what I do is useful (20%) and I get to use my brain (20%)
  5. There is a good atmosphere in the office (17%)
  6. I am financially well rewarded (15.95%)
  7. I have flexible working conditions (15.80%)
  8. I feel recognised and appreciated (15%)
  9. I am doing something challenging (14%)
  10. I have a lot of responsibility (13%)

How to nurture good working relationships

Humans are social animals, so how we get on with others – in or outside of work – naturally has a marked effect on our quality of life. A friendly, collaborative atmosphere is likely to make us approach our work with more energy, enthusiasm and creativity.

Of course, you can’t be friends with everyone, and no one hits it off with all their co-workers. But you can take steps to get on with most of the people most of the time. Here are a few rules of thumb if you’re just starting out in a job and keen to get off on a good footing with your new team:

  • Try to fit in with the culture – the dress code, the level of formality, and the way colleagues interact professionally. For example, if you insist on wearing a suit when everyone else is wearing jeans, it could send the message that you want to set yourself apart from the group.   
  • Don't be unnecessarily critical of your colleagues or their work. If you do have an issue with someone, approach them about it directly rather than complaining about them behind their back. Rehearsing what you want to say to them in advance might help keep the conversation constructive and minimise confrontation.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues for help with work-related problems. As well as helping you get on with your job, it shows them you value their expertise and opinions.  
  • Accept invitations to meet your colleagues at social functions after hours (or lunch, if you have commitments after work), where you can get to know them on a more personal level without the stresses and constraints of the immediate work environment.
  • Do some of the inviting. Show others you are interested in including and getting to know them, and they are more likely to think of inviting you to social outings in future. 

Visit workSMART’s section on Fitting in at work for more advice.