If you prefer sneaking into work, keeping to yourself, and scuttling out the back door at the end of the day, then so be it. But trust me when I say there are many perks to being more likable at work. In fact, friendliness can even be somewhat of a necessity.
Start by thinking about it this way. As Heather R. Huhman pointed out on Entrepreneur.com, 78 percent of people who work 30 to 50 hours a week spend more time with co-workers than with their families. Imagine how much better your work week could be if you opened up to some of these people. Those 30 to 50 hours could actually even be (dare I say it?) fun.
Still not convinced to change your ways? Then consider how friendliness could save your job. As Robert DiGiacomo said on the job site Monster.com, "Keeping your job in good economic times — and bad — depends on one variable: whether your boss likes you." That's because your boss will immediately think about who whether he or she likes you, and whether you get along with other coworkers, when it comes time to make cuts. For this reason alone, you should start smiling and waving your way through the office halls.
OK, so maybe you don't have to get all pageant-y about your niceness. But you get my point that friendliness makes for a better work day. With that in mind, here's what you can do to be way more likable at work.
1. Call People By Their Name
It seems like such an insignificant thing, but people really appreciate being called their names. Not "hey you" or "sir" or "boss," but their actual name. As Jayson Demers said on Inc.com, "Calling someone by name makes [them] feel special, and shows that you're interested in [them] as an individual, not just in the context of a need."
2. Be Ready To Help Out
I know, you're busy, and the idea of helping out anyone else seems impossible. But if you can swing it, occasionally be open to helping your coworkers out. As Jennifer Cohen noted on Forbes.com, "Lending a helping hand will not only make you more likable, it will generally make your job easier in the long run. If the office is flowing efficiently, this means less stress for you." And what could be better than that?
3. Dish Out The Compliments
This is a good habit to adopt for pretty much every aspect of life — dishing out the well-timed, genuine compliment. According to Dan Gregory and Kieran Flanagan on Success.com, "A compliment (that you mean, not that you fake), a thank you or a job well done can increase your likability instantly ... Make a point of stopping to think about the people that help you every day and taking time to circle back to them to say thanks." They'll love you for it, I promise.
4. Avoid Too Much Competition
Work places can get a bit cutthroat, I know. But that doesn't mean you have to get too caught up in the drama. As Demers said, "... the moment you come to be seen as a competitor, people will shy away from you and may even come to resent you." So don't throw anyone under the bus, or try to take credit for things you didn't do. People will remember, and it will affect their opinion of you.
5. Hang Out Outside Of Work
When 5 p.m. rolls around, it's normal to hear the siren call of your couch. Personally, I love my alone time, and when work is done it's done. However, it is important to occasionally do a happy hour, in order to get to bond with your coworkers. As Cohen said, "Employees of a workplace make up a team, and if you are consistently missing from extracurriculars, you become the odd man out." Do yourself a favor, and go have that drink.
6. Ask People What They Think
This simple question — "What do you think?" — is so important for making people feel included. So be sure to ask it often, and really listen to your coworker's response. "At the end of the day, it is about making other people feel valuable, [and] that they make a difference," said Gregory and Flanagan.
7. Don't Be Gross In The Kitchen
Here's some tangible advice: don't be gross in the kitchen. "Be courteous and clean. It shows that you value your co-workers’ time when they don’t have to wash their coffee cup and yours every morning," Cohen said. And while you're at it, don't eat anyone else's lunch. That's just all kinds of wrong.
8. Be Consistent AF
Do your best to be kind of predictable at work. Show up at the same time each morning, stay late if you have to, send out those emails when you say you will. As Demers said, "People need to know what they can expect from you, or else they might immediately write you off." The more consistent you are, the better.
9. Include Everyone In Your Group
OK, so let's say have made some friends at work. If so, be sure not to exclude anyone, or become too clique-y. As Alyse Kalish said on TheMuse.com, "Likable people are inclusive; no matter where they are or what they’re doing, they find a way to include others who seem a bit out of place or could use a friend." Who knows, they could one day be your boss! Best be nice.
10. Lighten Up
Work isn't always fun, and sometimes it's downright stressful. This doesn't mean, however, that you should be a complete stick in the mud. "If it’s a slow day, grab a quick coffee with a co-worker or talk a bit longer in the kitchen. Use days with lighter workloads to show people that you aren’t all work and no play. It makes you more likable and relatable," Cohen suggested.
11. Say Hi To New People
Each time someone new comes moseying on into your place of employment, make it your business to help them feel welcome. As Kalish said, "Likable people help out newbies, even new bosses who are still adjusting to being the head honcho." They'll get a good first impression, and who knows where that could lead?
Remember, being nice at work isn't just about getting ahead (although it's a nice perk). It's also about enjoying your week, and having a better work environment. So try to be friendlier at work, and enjoy all the benefits a little niceness has to offer.
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