For the past 19 months many of us have been confined to working from home, fitting meetings in between taking care of kids (and watching Netflix). While it may not have affected our teamworking capabilities, we are probably all a little rusty in our in-person interactions.

To help you in your return to the office, when in-person interactions will become a daily occurrence, we’ve put together a short guide on how to become a better colleague.


Say ‘yes’

We succeed as a team, not as individuals, and going beyond what’s expected of you will have a positive effect not only on yourself, but it will also spill over to those around you.

While working in the office, instead of at home, you are bound to receive more requests for help from your colleagues. And when someone asks for your help, saying ‘no’ is not only dismissive it can also hinder the work processes of your colleagues.

While it may seem disruptive at first, going that extra mile doesn’t just help your colleague in question; it will often help the entire company. So, remember to say yes – if it’s within reason of course.

At the end of the day, helping others is helping yourself!


Communicate your challenges

One of the most common reasons for discord in the workplace is a lack of communication and an unhealthy focus on small irritants.

For instance, I really hate scheduling meetings. The whole process annoys me; checking everyone’s calendars to find a time slot, finding an available meeting room, sending out invitations etc.

It may not be the most complicated process, but when you have to book several meetings in a day, it becomes cumbersome, and without the right tools it also leaves a large margin for error.

For the longest time this was something that annoyed me in my daily work, but I didn’t act on it, however, that changed when I let the guys from IT know about my problem. And they found the tools to almost eliminate my problem completely – or at least make the process a lot easier.

By acknowledging your own limitations, you pave the way for constructive dialogue, and together with your colleagues, you can solve your issues more easily. There is often a better way of doing things, you just need to find it, and that is not always an option if you try to go it alone.

When you ask for help, you often end up finishing your task much quicker, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or engage in dialogue with your colleagues. After all, two heads are better than one.

Did you know that ...

  • 86% of executives cite a lack of collaboration as a major source for workplace failures*

  • 39% of employees believe that people within their own organization do not collaborate enough*

  • Only about 27% of employees are confident in their ability to communicate at work*


Check your colleagues’ schedules

Returning to the office gives everyone the opportunity to spontaneously drop by a colleague’s office to ask for help. And while collaboration and communication are vital to success, you also need to remember that your colleagues have other tasks as well.

Checking your colleagues’ calendar before you show up at their desk ensures that you don’t end up disturbing them in the middle of their scheduled focus-time.

Provided they add the information in their calendars, checking your coworkers’ calendars will also let you know whether they intend to work from home or in the office.


Communicate your location

Returning to the office after having worked from home, means that most of us aren’t returning to the same reality we left. Before the time of mutating virus strains and lockdowns, most of us went to the office every day to carry out our jobs. But an increasing number of companies are choosing a hybrid workplace model for their employees, meaning that you may find yourself working from home some days and from the office on others.

Because of this, you will need to let your colleagues know when you are available for physical drop-bys and when they will need to reach you digitally if they want to get a hold of you.

If your workplace is changing to a flexible mode of hybrid work where employees choose for themselves where they work having a proper desk booking software becomes essential.



Make friends, not war

While being good at your job should always be a priority, studies* have shown that what we are actually looking for in our colleagues is likeability. We want colleagues to be, if not friends, then at least friendly.

While working from home, most of us have been 100% focused on doing our jobs well, but when we return to the office, we need to allocate some of our focus towards socializing and being a good colleague.

It doesn’t take a lot to be a good colleague, but after a year and a half of working from home, some of us may need a little help. This is by no means an exhaustive guide on how to become ‘employee of the year.’ It is simply a few pointers to help you in your return to the office.

Good colleagues ...

  • … are generally upbeat and enthusiastic, showing up with a smile on their faces Monday morning

  • … focus on their team and coworkers instead of themselves

  • … take responsibility instead of shifting blame

  • … are genuinely interested in other people, no matter whether they are customers or coworkers

  • … engage in a constructive dialogue with your colleagues

  • … are open to changes that benefit their colleagues

  • … are fun to be around – with an appropriate sense of humor

  • … socialize and draw out their colleagues by asking questions, listening intently.



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