Colleagues and Friends: An Integral Part of Surviving the Work Day

Colleagues and Friends: An Integral Part of Surviving the Work Day

This is dedicated to my previous colleagues in Content Acquisitions at ProQuest. You were a big part of my life for nine years, and I appreciate the time we shared.

By Gretchen Hendrick Gardella, MLIS

Like many of you, I have also been fortunate to work with some truly wonderful people. Good colleagues make a work day/week easier to tolerate. From the great days, where good things happen to the bad days, where the future seems very uncertain, a close-knit team is ideal. There are only benefits to having positive working relationships, and establishing those from day 1 of a new job is vital. listed eight reasons why building these relationships is so important:

  1. It improves collaboration
  • The ability to work well with others, something that has been on report cards and resumè alike, is a learned ability for some and natural for others.
  • Since pre-K, we have learned that we must try to get along with the other kids. Play nice, the teacher says. This is the same for adult work relationships, especially when you’re a new person.
  • As you talk to colleagues, show an interest in their opinions (even if it isn’t reciprocated) and get a feel for how they operate. The better you know a person, the easier you can work with them.
  • A functional and professional relationship will emerge as you learn how your colleagues work, their quirks, and how to avoid aggravating them unnecessarily. When you can easily collaborate with your colleagues, every work day goes smoother.
  1. It improves individual productivity
  • When you’re happier with the people you work with, your work-related stress is lower. With stress lessened, productivity increases naturally.
  1. It improves employee morale
  • When you and your colleagues get along, it naturally creates higher morale throughout the company.
  1. It improves employee retention rates
  • Teams that work effectively together naturally result in employees wanting to stay in their respective jobs longer. Especially if they are paid adequately.
  • Employees who remain in their jobs cost companies less overall as they do not need to be onboarded and trained.
  • According to com, “Employees who are satisfied with the overall quality of their workplace relationships are likely to be more attached to the organization.”
  1. It leads to a transfer of skills and knowledge
  • When colleagues train each other, tidbits of knowledge are shared from the experienced to the new. It’s a great way to learn, and it was how much of my training was done.
  1. It improves your health
  • When your stress levels are reduced, it directly benefits your health. Positive relationships built well between colleagues minimize work stress for everyone, mainly when significant negative changes occur.
  1. It improves creativity
  • Creativity comes from relaxed and inspired minds. This most easily happens when a team is comfortable with each other. The ability to freely express ideas only truly happens when colleagues know their teammates support them.
  1. It facilitates the intake of new team members
  • Everyone tried to get to know me when I was new to the team. They helped me assimilate, locate coffee and vending machines, and not get lost going back to my desk.
  • During meetings, I was assigned to take notes (my manager’s idea was to throw the new person in the deep end and see if they could swim). I scrambled to write fast enough, trying to learn the immense number of terms, acronyms, and processes being discussed.
  • My colleagues helped clarify things and taught me how to do my job.

It’s not easy joining a new team and trying to make sure you give a good impression to everyone. Knowing that your new colleagues want to help (for real) and being open to learning from them will help all of you succeed in the long run. As the team meshes and increasingly works on tasks, the cohesive group becomes a powerful network—a force for good within the company. The group I was part of back then was this force. Unrecognized for the most part, but we were the heart of content—arteries and veins of electronic feeds and hardcopy. We were pumping the articles and other media out to the platform. Worked hard, often on designated tasks, and cross-trained to ensure no one person was fully responsible, even if they were out of the office for a while. It was a solid team that laughed in meetings and consoled each other when the company was purchased. Determined to make the best of it every day, this team helped me through some of my life’s most difficult and happiest parts.

You are fortunate if you have a team that feels like a family. If you’ve just joined a tight-knit group, do your best to be open with them. Joining a work family can benefit everyone.

Gretchen Hendrick Gardella is a Librarian with administrative, research, and vast technical skills. Ms. Gardella brings over 16 years of experience working in academic and public libraries to the discussion.