7 Simple Rules for Being a Better Coworker

Staffing Specialists Reveal Their Best Tips for the Workplace

Are you a trusted partner in the workplace? If you’re sensing it isn’t just your cologne that’s making coworkers steer clear of your cubicle, it might be time to examine your workplace reputation. A single workplace misstep, if done repeatedly, can send you down the wrong road when it comes to winning the trust and respect of coworkers. It can even affect your prospects of raises or promotions.

We talked to staffing specialists and managers to find out what qualities at work can make and break coworker relationships, and the majority were in agreement about the impact of seven simple things. If your workplace profile needs polishing, keep this list handy. You’ll thin the cloud of mistrust that surrounds you and start strengthening your workplace relationships instantly.

  1. Take Responsibility.
    Aspire to be a workplace leader? Don’t blame others for mishaps, mistakes, or missed deadlines. It doesn’t take long for coworkers to recognize when you’re being accountable and when you’re passing the buck. Taking responsibility – even when it may not seem fair at the time – pays dividends. You’ll gain the trust and respect of your coworkers, and it won’t go unnoticed to the powers that be.
  2. Step Up.
    It turns out that one of the best ways to burnish your workplace reputation is to step up. Volunteer to contribute on projects, or ask how you can help a coworker who seems overwhelmed. “A coworker who goes above and beyond minimal expectations is the shining star of the office,” said one Bonney Staffing specialist. “The effort devoted to lending an extra hand will be returned in spades.” At the same time, it doesn’t pay to be a doormat. “A worker should know their value,” the specialist said. “Picking up others’ slack all the time can take a toll on self-worth. The key is knowing that line.”
  3. Save the Drama.
    Temper tantrums, outbursts, sulking…that’s workplace drama, and staffing specialists and managers on the frontlines are unanimous – such behavior demolishes the Drama Queen’s rep. Gossip, the ugly stepsister of office place drama, is no more attractive. Chatting about coworkers behind their backs can seem like a harmless way to pass the time, but don’t be fooled. Even those willing to gossip with you will ultimately steer clear, leading to isolation and poor relationships. When it doubt, hold your tongue, and save the drama for your mama.
  4. Show Up.
    Woody Allen said it’s 80% of success, and it’s never more true than at work. Showing up on time is one of the easiest things you can do to gain the respect of coworkers, and showing up late is one of the easiest ways to lose it. Send the message that you value others’ time by eliminating tardiness and arriving at meetings when they are scheduled. Being the office straggler is one reputation certain to precede you – especially if you’re late.
  5. Steer Clear of Politics.
    Work is a team sport, not a party line. The old saw about talking politics applies to the workplace: it’s not safe. Why? Facing off about political issues can put a damper on productivity and be a drain on relationships. And, it’s always isolating to those whose views differ. Treat politics as a private issue, not a professional one, and when election season heats up the landscape, keep the flame on a low simmer from nine to five.
  6. Keep “Weekend You” Out of the Office.
    It’s not always easy. Social media activity mingles with the workday, and between Work You and Weekend, You is just one blurred line. Workplace relationships are important, and sharing is a vital part of being a valued friend and coworker. But too much talk about staying out late and having one too many Frangelicos can sully your workplace reputation and make you seem immature and irresponsible. Err on the side of discretion. Unless you’re devoting your off-hours to helping the white rhino, save weekend shenanigans for your besties.
  7. Make Suggestions.
    According to several Bonney Staffing specialists, one of the best ways to enhance your professional profile is to make a contribution to the workplace. If you see a way to improve processes, say so. “Workers should, first and foremost, fulfill their job responsibilities. But if there is a way to offer suggestions to a team leader or to mentor a coworker, they should,” said one manager. Taking the initiative is the way to move from a good coworker to a valued coworker.” Just make sure you’ve got the facts and figures to support your recommendation – then go for it.
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