As companies continue to transition to a hybrid work environment and remote work increases in popularity, they are faced with new challenges in maintaining their company culture. Specifically, as the balance in work location shifts, the dynamic of building strong relationships with team members who are working in different physical locations is becoming more nuanced.
Understanding the importance of creating connections with individuals in the workplace, especially within the hybrid workforce, is key to employee satisfaction and effective work output. When companies encourage building strong work relationships, they are ultimately showing their employees they care about them and their well-being. Good communication and meaningful relationships are crucial to company culture because behind every computer screen filled with emails and messages is a real person with a desire to be known and understood.
With any relationship, you get out of it what you put into it. As companies and employees consider how to build and maintain strong relationships, they need to consider how their interactions, intentionality, and individuality work together to influence the overall sense of inclusion in the workplace.
The 4 I’s for Work Relationships:
- Interactions – Whether you are in the office or working from a remote location, you will interact with others daily in big and small ways. Each daily interaction turns into a moment, which over time impacts relationships – positively or negatively. As you go about your day to day, remember that your behavior is contagious, and relationships are a two-way street. Strive to make each interaction that you have a positive one so that people remember the meaningful moments you created.
- Intentionality – Everyone has a to-do list, and some days it can be a mile long. Even in the midst of a busy day or week, make sure you take the time to slow down and be present in your communication. If you are asking someone to do something, give them context for why you need it done. When people can understand the importance of a request to you and the company, they will find it more meaningful. When someone asks you to do something, always make sure you follow through on your commitments and do what you say you are going to do so you can earn the trust and respect of your coworkers. If you are intentional about doing your part to develop the relationship, others will be inclined to do the same.
- Individuality – It’s been said that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Be purposeful about caring for those around you and remembering that each person on your team plays a role in your organization’s success. Aside from work related requests and conversations, take the time to check in on coworkers and ask how they are doing – find the human in them and recognize their value. Remember to lead by example, make time for others, and show respect regardless of position, tenure, or age.
- Inclusion – Inclusion is about how we experience each other and how we make others feel. Within any company, all employees own a part of inclusion, and it starts with the day-to-day interactions at an individual level between employees. Focus on intentional inclusion and further developing personal relationships, so that you can build strong teams and a strong company.
At FGP, we believe great people build great companies, and that all starts with meaningful relationships. The trust, empathy, and respect that employees have for one another will directly affect the quality of their work. There is no magic formula for developing meaningful work relationships, but our interactions + our intentionality + our individuality = our inclusion. When we feel included, we feel cared for and can more easily connect and work with others. With a strong foundation of good communication and intentional actions, you can make your workplace relationships mutually beneficial to drive strong results in your company.