3 Ways to Foster Genuine, Impactful Connections at Work

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
April 15, 2024 at 9:47AM UTC

The pandemic has exacerbated something many of us were already experiencing: loneliness and isolation at work. While this is not necessarily unique to remote-work scenarios, a decrease in in-person contact certainly heightens the feeling of a lack of meaningful connection.

How, then, can you foster genuine, impactful connections with colleagues at work? Here are three ideas.

1. Discuss non-work topics.

Some people are reluctant to discuss their personal lives with colleagues. Others enjoy doing so and believe this is the ticket to forming friendships with the people you work with. Whichever camp you fall into, discussing topics unrelated to your work can help you form connections.

You don’t need to get super personal, here. And do be careful about oversharing — this can veer into the unprofessional territory. Still, discussing your favorite books, hobbies and TV shows you enjoy will help you get to know your colleagues better beyond work and allow you to establish common ground. Look for opportunities to catch up and chat, such as before meetings officially kick off.

2. Praise your colleagues.

Everyone loves compliments! When a colleague does a particularly great job on a project, let them know that you noticed. Tell them how much you appreciate and admire them. Don’t just limit this to big things, like promotions or landing a huge account — even small gestures that improve your workflow or help the team out are worthy of praise.

When you do offer your congratulations, admiration or thanks, your colleague will surely appreciate the gesture. This is a step toward developing a stronger connection in the work environment.

3. Ask for help.

Like receiving compliments, most people love being helpful. While some people think asking for help is weak or annoying, often, if you do it, others will relish the opportunity to lend a hand. You are showing your more human self and acting humble, as well as demonstrating that you value their perspective. Plus, if you’re able to return the favor — a more likely scenario after you have established this kind of relationship — you will develop a connection that goes both ways, one where you’re able to support each other.

Of course, don’t forget to say thanks and show your appreciation.

It can be difficult to develop meaningful, genuine connections at work, but it is far from impossible — no matter where or how you work.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology, and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What’s your no. 1 piece for fostering genuine relationships at work? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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