How to interact effectively with coworkers

By Jerrywright Ukwu

Being the administrative assistant at Sesema PR, one of my core duties is to assist my colleagues in their endeavors, help them make the most of their day and make their jobs easier. And all these are not possible without frequently interacting with them. In this piece, I have outlined ways in which you can interact effectively with your colleagues at work drawing from my own experience.

Most of us work an average of 8 hours a day, so, we are likely to spend more time with our co-workers each week than with our family or friends at home. In my own opinion, getting along with your co-workers is essential, given the amount of time you spend together.

You can interact effectively with your co-workers without becoming best friends forever. When you start a new job, take some time to observe the dynamics already at play within the group or team you work with. Asking different people to help you with tasks is a good way of circulating around the office. If you only ever ask one individual, you will make them feel as if they cannot get their own work done.

You can create reasons to speak to people, such as asking how the photocopier works, or where the staples are kept.

Try to remember peoples’ names and use them when you address them. This gives the impression that you are interested in them as an individual. You should also smile when you first approach a work colleague to ask them something. A smile can be heard in the voice, even if the person you are talking to is looking the other way.

Do not invade people’s personal space unless you absolutely have to. Many people find this behaviour extremely annoying and even threatening. Keep at least around 2 feet (60 cm) of space between you until you know the person better, and even then refrain from touching the other person.

This will help you understand the individuals, and formulate strategies to interact with them

Finally, emails have become the preferred method of communication in offices, even between people sitting a few paces away from each other. Sometimes, it is better to get up and go and speak to the person instead. You can always follow it up with a short email afterwards just to clarify actions or points.