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What makes a great professional relationship?

The healthier your relationships are at work, the happier you’re going to be.

Did you know there’s such a thing as a professional relationship counselor? That’s right. A therapist for your relationships, at work. Seems far-fetched. But when you pause to really consider this concept, it makes total sense. According to Gettysburg College, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. That accounts for an entire third of your life. And it’s likely more time spent than with our partners, friends, and kids. Considering how much time we spend with our coworkers, we should really be making an effort to get along.

Now comfortably seated in my early 30s, I’ve proudly earned my “working professional for over a decade” badge. A decade of experience has taught me about more than just work, but about how to work with people. And let me tell you, I have worked with all types.

What have I learned? Your relationships at work matter – whether they are your coworkers or clients. And they can affect your wellbeing beyond just when you’re on the job. They permeate into your relationships at home, affect your mood, and take a toll when toxic. My advice: invest in them. The healthier your relationships are at work, the happier you’re going to be. Here’s what I’ve learned on how to make these relationships great:

Maintain respect.

This is a biggie, folks. Remember, respect is a choice. You may have disagreements, you will likely get frustrated, and you may even dislike some of the people you work with, but maintain respect for them. An absence of respect can be disastrous for a healthy and productive work environment. Teams can crumble without it. Treasure that golden rule, “Treat people the way you want to be treated,” and you’ll be more efficient and effective as a team. This will set the tone for a feel-good culture that makes people feel valued and supported.

Get personal.

We can’t be best friends with everyone, but sharing a sense of your personal side at work is a small investment with a big return. Here at Phire, we’re mindful of “Being Human” and “Being Real.” We believe there’s value in being connected on an authentic level. It builds empathy and compassion and promotes a “We’re in this together” mindset. Cataloging the best moments throughout my career, those “in this together” moments rise to the top. The mid-week happy hours, the inside jokes, the shared stress of projects that never seem to end, the late-night working sessions, all made better by the shared experience of it along the way. Those are the moments I value most – the moments we get real.

Be appreciative.

It’s likely you didn’t accomplish that task entirely on your own. It takes a team effort, especially at work. Be mindful of the people around you who help you get. sh*t. done. Say thank you. Help a coworker out when they ask, or even if they don’t. Go out of your way for a client. Show recognition when deserved. It’s truly the little things that matter and build a sense of camaraderie in your working space. Start adopting this mindset, and you’ll be amazed by its domino effect.

And there you have it. Three of my work life lessons, perfectly outlined (and bolded) for you, culminating in the perfect recipe for relationship success. Kidding! If only it were that easy. While these are great reminders, know that great relationships take “work,” as they say. So put in the work with people just as you do with your day-to-day tasks. Really take stock and interest in the people around you and I have a warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll see the effort reciprocated.

Stay human.

Blaire Plunkett
Senior Account Executive