We all know how it feels to have a coworker we hate, but having a coworker you love in the cubicle over from you? Well, that's a rare bird. Instead of wishing your office had more stand-up people in it, switch tracks and become that person instead. Fill the void for ace colleagues and become the dream team you wish you had. Who knows? That kind of attitude could be infectious. But what does it take to become that kind of cubicle buddy? What actually makes a great coworker?
A coffee "just because" and a well timed donut box could make all the difference (especially if a super boring meeting is scheduled for that afternoon), but treats aside, there are things you can do that don't dip into your wallet. For example, offer to take up certain tasks if you know your coworker has a full plate and overflowing inbox. Or doll out praise like it's your job when that kind of attention is well earned. Be the fixer of the office that cuts through tensions with ideas, and actually open yourself up so people can connect with you and not only hand you tasks. You got this — here are 11 ways you can become the coworker everyone loves.
1. Take The Bullet Once In A While
You don't need to volunteer yourself for every chopping block, but taking one for the team every once in a while goes a crazy long way. Lifestyle writer Corinne Bagish from Mashable explained, "Is your coworker gearing up for their long commute and up pops a 5 p.m. meeting? Take it for them. Is that one dreaded email directed to your whole team glaringly sitting there, unanswered? Chime in." People remember heroic actions like that, and the word "amazing" will always pop into their head after your name.
2. Bring Some Treats
Is this a form of bribery? Maybe. But do you really think anyone is going to complain when you come armed with pastries on a dull Monday morning. Bagish pointed out, "Rough morning after the office holiday party? Come armed with bagels. Arduous meeting ahead? Not as bad with homemade cookies. Is it a random Wednesday, but you brought your famous seven-layer dip? Hump day has never looked so good, and you’re basically a hero." It shows you care and that you're considerate — and that kind of person is a winner.
3. Give Praise
This isn't brown-nosing, rather it's a way to boost the morale of your cubicle mates and inspire them to put their best foot forward that day. Business writer Jeff Haden told career-development site The Muse, "The people who do this know that a few words of recognition — especially when that recognition is publicly given — could just be the nudge that inspires an average performer to become a great performer." Getting recognized gives you a fresh zing of ambition, and makes you want to live up to it and do more. So give out that praise.
4. Do A Little More Than Necessary
It might be enough to just clock in and do exactly what you're told, but that doesn't make people love you. Be the one that's passionate about their work and does a little more, and the attitude will rub off on those around you. Career writer Nettie Gray from career development site Careerealism offered, "If there’s anything you want to explore in addition to the tasks assigned to you, let your boss know. Volunteer to assist your colleagues who might be able to use extra hands. If the resources given you are not enough, then take the initiative looking for more." Come into work with a dash of excitement and a can-do attitude, and you'll stand out.
5. Connect With Your Coworkers
Rather than just chatting to your cubicle mates when you need something done, get friendly with them. Talk about your lives outside of those four walls and show them you think they're interesting and worth to getting to know. Lifestyle writer George Miata from Reader's Digest advised, "Showing a genuine interest in them will make them feel comfortable around you. Talk about your life outside the office when it’s appropriate." And the best way to get that started? Share something about yourself first.
6. Be Kind To The Newbies
You yourself know how hard it can be starting a new job, so designate yourself as the unofficial Welcome Committee at your office. Hiring and management firm Robert Half suggested, "From volunteering to mentor to simply taking them out for a cup of coffee, making an extra effort to welcome new employees is great for team morale." Your kindness could rub off on people.
7. Spread The Love
People love being appreciated or being on the receiving end of a good deed, so spread those kind of good vibes all over the office. Miata suggested, "You don’t have to be a Pollyanna, but try to perform one kindly act a week, choosing a different coworker each time." Whether it's a "good job" email or a cup of coffee just because, that kind of kindness gets noticed.
8. Help Coworkers Grab At Opportunities
Did you see a class you think your cubicle buddy would benefit from? Or is there a project you're in that you know they can really contribute to? With just a simple mention of their name or a forwarded email, you can help them build their career forward, which they won't forget. Haden pointed out, "Generous people take the time to help another person find and seize opportunities." Be the type of colleague that doesn't just look out for themselves, but knows that there are enough opportunities to go around.
9. Be Prompt With Your Responses
How badly does your eye twitch when it takes someone a couple of days to respond to your email? Right, don't be that person. Miata pointed out, "There’s nothing more frustrating to busy people than to have their e-mails and phone messages ignored." Always be prompt and people won't stop singing your praises.
10. Be The One That Breaks Up Tensions
Is there a weird moment during a meeting, a looming deadline that has the office tense, or an email thread turning snarky? Be the one that comes to the rescue and problem solves to move things along. Bagish recommended, "Become that digital beacon of light: Be helpful and courteous — and get the job done." Not only are you a diffuser, but you find a way to keep the task at hand moving. That's hero status right there.
11. Be Open
Sometimes it's hard to get past that office wall with people and get to their true self. While that's okay, there seems o be an extra sort of appreciation to the office mate that allows themselves to connect with the people they're with. How do you do that? Haden explained, "They openly celebrate. They openly empathize. They openly worry. In short, they’re openly human. They blend professionalism with a healthy dose of humanity—and, more important, allow other people to do the same." If you act like an actual person, you'll foster a different atmosphere in the office. Be the one that makes that warm change.
So go ahead — try these out next Monday and see what happens!
Images: @lichipan/ Instagram