The Dos and Don'ts of Professional Relationships
Professional relationships can be challenging to navigate, especially after spending over a year in isolation due to the pandemic. So, whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time, or you need to remember how to function outside of Zoom meetings, here are a few critical dos and don'ts for professional relationships:
Do Try to Be Professional
Remaining professional at work is key. If you happen to be at a social event with your co-workers or potential clients, acting in a way that you would still act at work is important. This does not necessarily mean putting on a facade, but there are definitely things that you’d do when out with friends that you wouldn’t do when you’re at work or out with a client.
Do Try to Be Friendly
Being friendly to your co-workers is just generally good practice. It doesn’t take much to say ‘hello’ and inquire about somebody’s day, but that one small act can possibly even help someone else have a better day. Plus, friendly people are more approachable.
Join Work Events When Possible
Socializing with your co-workers can help make your work environment more pleasant overall. Feeling like you’re working among friends, even if you still need to remain professional, helps make your job more enjoyable.
Help Others and Ask for Help When Needed
Helping your co-workers is a great way to stand out in a positive way and can sometimes make work easier in the long run. Likewise, if you need help, make sure to ask; it’s better to get your questions early than to do something incorrectly.
Do Mind Your Social Media
You don’t have to add everyone to your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can choose where you add and whom you add- only add trustworthy work friends who are actually your friends and not just friendly co-workers. If you do add everyone, take note of the privacy settings for posts to help ensure that your co-workers don’t see anything that you don’t want them to see.
Avoid Gossiping and Complaining
Gossip can lead to hurt feelings, workplace tension, and, even worse, an outright conflict. You wouldn’t want your co-workers gossiping about you, so why not return the favor? Likewise, complaining and being constantly negative at work can be a turn-off for your co-workers.
Avoid Getting Too Personal
There’s a reason that personal and professional usually don’t mix; if the personal relationship goes wrong, that can put a strain on your work environment, and the tension will often affect your co-workers. If you’re considering a relationship with a co-worker, also think about how that will affect your work-life if things go badly in the future.
Don’t Feel Obligated to Participate in Every Social Activity
If you need time to recharge, focus on work, or fulfill another obligation, you can always turn down a social activity. Be polite, thank whoever is inviting you for their consideration, and offer to join in at another time. Just try not to turn down every invitation because this will discourage the person inviting you.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to make friends at work; we all want a few people we can turn to for a bit of support and camaraderie. However, it's important to follow certain dos and don'ts in professional relationships. Maintaining healthy, friendly relationships at work can be a great source of motivation and inspiration, but if done wrong professional relationships can lead to disastrous effects.