Connecting with coworkers can be a challenge. You might have very little in common aside from your shared work. At an executive suite, or co-working space, where the people who share your office building aren’t even working for the same company, relationship building can seem like an impossible task.
But it’s worth the effort. The National Business Research Institute reported that worker satisfaction increases by 50% when employees have close relationships with others at work. So making friends at work might just make you happier and more satisfied with your job.
The executive suite advantage
You might think that having office mates who aren’t in the same company would make it harder to make friends, but that might not be the case. Executive suites and co-working spaces are full of driven, self-motivated professionals excited about their work. Many of them are business owners themselves or work closely with the owner of the business. You might just find that while your work is different, your philosophy and outlook on life is similar, and that’s a pretty good basis for a friendship.
Strategy #1: Talk to the people you work next to
How do you find out what you have in common? Start by talking. Ask the people from the next office or the person from the next desk, what they’re working on. Ask them how their weekend went. Ask them about their families and their interests. Complement their shoes. Just start a conversation.
Listen to their responses. Show them that you’re listening by making eye contact and not working on other tasks while you’re talking. Making someone feel heard is a solid foundation on which to build a friendship.
Strategy #2: Give help, or ask for help
Once you’ve started a conversation, find out what your office mates need. Since you’re not working on the same projects, and might not even be working in the same field, you have a unique perspective that could be valuable to your office mates.
An even more powerful way to build friendships? Ask for help. People love giving advice and being recognized for their expertise. Reach out to the marketing consultant in your office for help with a blog, or talk to a long-time sales person for tips on dealing with people.
Strategy #3: Treat them
Don’t be afraid to take the plunge and ask your office mate out for lunch or coffee. Sometimes getting out of the office can help people open up and feel more relaxed. If one or both of you is too busy to get away, plan an in-office chat with coffee or snacks to lighten things up. Even something as simple as bringing them a cup of coffee from the kitchenette can boost someone’s mood.
The first move is always the hardest, but before you know it, you’ll have plenty of friends at the office. Not only is that good for your mental health, it’s good for your business too. Connected businesspeople are successful businesspeople.
Jackie has been helping business owners and busy professionals build connections since 2002. Call her today to find an executive suite or co-working office full of potential work friends.