You can do it: how to establish & maintain good relationships in the workplace

Ester Brierley

According to research, employees who have friends at work are seven times more engaged. People are social creatures and good relationships with colleagues make them feel more satisfied with their job. Good relationships make work more meaningful, which is very important because many people spend more time at their jobs than with friends and family.


Good relationships in the workplace can make a big difference, increasing commitment and creating more opportunity for career development. Good relationships among colleagues are also the key to creating strong teams because employees don’t waste their attention and energy on solving personal problems and can focus on what is really important.

Why Relationships Are Important and What to Focus On

Although the need for good relationships in the workplace is rather obvious, not all businesses manage to create a comfortable emotional environment for employees. The main reason is that we all see the concept of good relationships differently. There are many kinds of business relationships. Quite often, they are purely transactional, only consisting of the necessary interactions. In turn, transactional interactions can be either competitive or collaborative. Collaborative interactions imply that both parties are satisfied with the results of their collaborative efforts, while competitive relationships are often associated with unfair treatment and have a very negative impact on teams.

There are also relationships of another kind — relational interactions, where both parties care not only about the outcome but also about each other. Relational interactions take collaboration to a new level. To build relations of this kind, employees should realize the long-term benefits of such interactions, prioritizing the quality of the communication process.

The main distinctive features of good relationships in the workplace are trust, mutual respect, and mindfulness. Employees should be responsible for their actions and words, understanding that their negative emotions impact the whole team. Strong teams also welcome diverse people and opinions, understanding the benefits of diversity for decision-making. The last but not least feature of good relationships is open and honest communication.

How to Establish & Maintain Good Relationships in the Workplace

Conflict management

Conflicts are natural, and it’s impossible to avoid them forever, especially in a stressful business environment. According to statistics, American employees spend about 2.8 hours a week solving conflicts. At the same time, 37% of leaders feel uncomfortable when dealing with conflicts and communicating with their employees. Therefore, supervisors and managers should pay particular attention to de-escalating conflicts and recovering relationships, acting as mediators and showing an example of respectful behavior.

Open communication

Honest communication is crucial for any relationship. It only becomes possible when people appreciate each other for who they are and don’t try to change others. The first step towards honest, open communication is acknowledging what you know and what you don’t. It’s better to honestly say that you don’t know an answer to a question than to make things up, undermining your own credibility.

Nonverbal communication matters

Sometimes, your intonation, facial expression, and gestures can say much more than your words. People don’t use verbal communication only. If you’re being sarcastic, a person you’re talking to understands it. The same way, if you don’t feel respect for people, they also understand it. To ensure the right type of nonverbal communication, companies should build their corporate culture around respect.

Clear goals

Employees should clearly understand what to do, as well as when and how to do it. This way, a company can eliminate many conflicts between individuals. Therefore, it’s very important for leaders to set clear, measurable goals and to explain how every employee can get the necessary help.

Stress management

According to statistics, two-thirds of millennial employees feel stressed out most of the time. The main causes of stress in the workplace are an inability to maintain a healthy work-life balance and communication problems. Stress leads to employee burnout and numerous negative consequences for both physical and mental health, making companies lose up to $190 billion a year. Therefore, companies should create opportunities for cognitive, emotional, and physical relief.

Sharing credit

The best way to build strong relationships within a team is to recognize and reward every member’s contribution to the overall success of the company. Employees should feel valuable, regardless of their position. Leaders should make sure that every member of their team understands their importance and the importance of teamwork, creating a motivational environment. An individual growth of every employee benefits the whole company.

Personal productivity

Quite often, an office environment prevents employees from demonstrating their highest productivity. Gossipy coworkers, social media, office noises, and other factors are the most common causes of distraction. The more your employees get distracted, the less productive they become, and the higher the stress level. In turn, stress leads to conflicts in the workplace and makes employees feel unsatisfied with their job. Therefore, companies should create a comfortable environment, motivating employees and setting clear goals, instead of encouraging multitasking and micro-management.


A positive work environment and good relationships in the workplace are crucial for any business. If your employees are unhappy, their productivity declines, they get sucked into conflicts and lose their motivation. To cultivate positive relationships, companies should create an atmosphere of mutual respect. Team leaders should ensure open communication and recognize each employee’s contribution. It’s especially important to create a strong corporate culture based on respect and honesty, setting clear goals and minimizing stress.

About the Author

Ester Brierley, a competent virtual assistant and a content creator for College-Writer, knows the secret for balancing freelancing and her full-time job as a QA Engineer in a software outsourcing company. She enjoys researching cutting-edge digital trends and sharing them in her writing pieces. Follow her on Twitter.


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