Why working on work relationships is worth it


Do you ever feel like you see more of your work colleagues than your significant other? Well it may well be true.

As such, our relationships with our work mates play a big role in how we feel, think and act on the job. Even if you’re more shrinking violet than social butterfly, here are some handy tips to help elevate esteem in the office.

Make time for people

We all seem to have the habit of asking each other ‘how are you’ and we respond with ‘good thanks’. This 4 second interaction has no way of helping you understand a person or know who they are. The next interaction you have, try and make time to draw out a longer response, and pick up on any hobbies and interest that you can ask about again the next time you meet. Building on this helps to create a more meaningful rapport.

Be compassionate

Sometimes when others make mistakes that make us look bad, it can be a natural response to let out our steam. However, this can be very damaging to the relationship. The way you react to a colleague can make or break their confidence to complete their job and feel safe to try new things (which could be great next time!). Being constructive and understanding can help promote more effective learning from the situation.

Get involved

Getting involved in workplace events and social situations can help build relationships with your colleagues. The more you get involved, the more connected to the organisation you may feel.

Thank people

You may say thank you on a regular basis, but stopping to write a note or verbally express extra gratitude for how someone has positively impacted your days is a message anyone would appreciate hearing. And thinking about it, we’re more likely to want to do something for someone who shows they are grateful.

Notice others’ good behaviour

Research suggests the intention to help others may be catching  and the more virtuous we feel, the more generous we may be . Telling our colleagues when we think they have done something good or admiring their work ethic is only going to add fuel to the feel-good fire. And when we feel good we’re more open to creating new and strengthening existing relationships.


Aknin L., Dunn E., and Norton M., Happiness Runs in a Circular Motion: Evidence for a Positive Feedback Loop between Prosocial Spending and Happiness, Journal of Happiness Studies, April 2012, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 347–355

Michelangelo V, Galliani E, and Haidt J., Elevation at work: The effects of leaders’ moral excellence, The Journal of Positive Psychology, October 2010, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 390 — 411

This information has been reviewed for Bupa by health professionals and to the best of their knowledge is current and based on reputable sources of medical research. It should be used as a guide only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice. Bupa HI Pty Ltd (and its related entities) makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the recommendations or assessments and is not liable for any loss or damage you suffer arising out of the use of or reliance on the information, except that which cannot be excluded by law. We recommend that you consult your doctor or other qualified health professional if you have questions or concerns about your health.