You will probably spend a third of your life at work so being with people you like is pretty important.  However, research shows that two thirds of workers don’t like their colleagues and are just waiting for home time to get away from them.

Many workers cite being excluded, idleness and too much talking as reasons for having a poor relationship with a colleague. However, your colleague may be unaware of how things affect you and why things have gone awry. Workplace relationships can be tricky.  It takes time to understand your colleagues and how best to work with them.  The way you work together can have a big impact on how you feel about your job, which then affects your productivity as well as your health or feeling of stress.

It is also common not to tackle poor work relationships and many people feel powerless to do anything about it.  You don’t ever say anything but just grit your teeth when you are yet again interrupted with tales of weekend events. Some people just leave the company rather than address things with a colleague. Even though it takes time and effort, relationships can be improved.

To improve workplace relationships, you could try some of the following:

  • Be proactive about building strong, professional relationships. Don’t just wait for things to happen.
  • Talk to your colleague about how you work together. Start the conversation about what you can both do to find a solution and agree a way forward together.
  • Communicate; frequently, formally and informally, consistently, connect one-to-one.
  • If there is conflict, tackle it straight away and offer an olive branch.  Conflict usually festers if not addressed.
  • Understand your own role in this.  How can you improve the dynamics of the relationship by doing something different?
  • Look for things you have in common, rather than differences.

So if you have ever picked up the phone to pretend to have a conversation or moved desks to avoid a colleague, you may be not be feeling the love! The good news is that when you do get on with your colleagues, you are much more likely to be happy in your job, this is supported by research from Harvard Business Review which shows that the single most important factor in team success or failure is the quality of relationships within the team.