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A Few Simple Ways to Become a Great Office Co-Worker

A Few Simple Ways to Become a Great Office Co-WorkerSince many of us spend the majority of our time at work, it’s important — and not a bad idea — that we cultivate healthy relationships with those we work with. After all, shouldn’t such a large chunk of your life be as pleasant an experience as possible?

We all know an annoying co-worker (and some of us know more than one). Whether they are at the workspace next to us, upstairs, or in corporate — we have them labeled. No one wants to be that person, most of all you.

If you desire to be a good co-worker, proper office etiquette is not only a great place to start — in most office environments, it’s a must.

Below is a list of suggestions to help you become a better co-worker.

  • Listen to your co-workers and value their opinions.

    Your co-workers can often keep you up-to-date with what is important and they may be a great asset.

  • Encourage and support others.

    When your co-workers do a great job, let them know. When they have worked silently on a project that is being recognized, give them proper recognition. When you appreciate others, they appreciate you.

  • Smile.

    No one wants to come to work and look at a sour face. When you smile, others will smile with you. We all know smiling is contagious.

  • Don’t be the office gossip.

    Gossip can not only be damaging to the relationships with your peers, it can also be detrimental to your career. Gossip is generally filled with a lot of untruths combined with some small truths. Regardless of whether you know what you are talking about, the best rule is to keep it to yourself unless it is directly related to you.

  • Stay in control of your emotions.

    We all have days when we are in a not-so-great mood and that’s okay. The important thing is to not allow your mood to affect those around you. If you’re having a particularly bad day you may wish to stay to yourself a little more and be mindful of the way you speak and respond to others.

  • Be positive.

    There is nothing worse than a Negative Nelly (or) Ned. While venting is important during periods of frustration, choose who you vent to, when you vent, and how you vent. Don’t become the office complainer. People will eventually go to great lengths to avoid you and you may find yourself on the outskirts of many inside circles.

  • Don’t talk down about your colleagues or your boss.

    This can be perceived as a very negative behavior. You also never know who may repeat what you’ve spoken. If this is done very frequently, others may begin to lose trust in you for fear you may talk negatively about them as well.

  • Be quiet.

    You don’t want to be recognized as the office loudmouth, so be mindful of your volume when you speak. Also, just because you enjoy Top 40 hits, doesn’t mean everyone around you feels the same. If you are listening to music, make sure it is at an appropriate volume. Keep phone conversations between you and the other person on the phone and don’t use speakerphone unless you absolutely have to.

  • Volunteer.

    Everyone loves a cheerful volunteer. Volunteering shows that you are a team player, gives you an opportunity to work with others and shows your boss that you are willing and capable of additional tasks.

  • No unpleasant or strong odors, please.

    Just because you love Chanel No. 5 or Old Spice doesn’t mean you have to bathe in it, nor does it mean others will enjoy it. On the same, but different note, your co-workers may also not enjoy your beautiful filet of salmon reheated in the office microwave. Be considerate of others’ senses.

  • Be aware.

    Simply be aware that we are all humans and we all have our quirks, our bad days, and little things that just annoy others. Accept your co-workers for who they are. Be mindful of their feelings and courteous and they will likely return the favor.

Just do your job. Sounds simple, right? If you focus on yourself and do your job, this is bound to make you a good co-worker. Not only will you demonstrate model behaviors for others, but no one else will be responsible for doing your share of the work. That’s something everyone can appreciate.

A Few Simple Ways to Become a Great Office Co-Worker

Donna M. White, LPCI, CACP

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APA Reference
White, D. (2018). A Few Simple Ways to Become a Great Office Co-Worker. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 23 Aug 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.