Stay Civil: How To Maintain Excellent Employee Relations

Working alongside professionals can be a very rewarding experience. It’s quite normal however, to have one colleague that gets on your raw nerve. Working in an office, the long hours and close proximity can often lead to a break down in employee relations. The challenge? To handle your corporate annoyances with a long-term perspective.

3 Typical Office Irritations:

  1. The Smelly-Eater: We all have different tastes in food! In a workplace where there are limited air ducts, it is worth considering the types of food smells you are inflicting on your fellow colleagues. Foods to avoid include egg, microwaved leftovers and fish-based meals. While this might seem unreasonable, lunches that consist of a sandwich, a salad, or a cold pasta are much less likely to leave a bad residual smell than meals that let off steam.  
  2. The Gossip: Avoid talking smack about your fellow employees, especially your manager. A major source of harmful employee relations, word travels fast in the workplace. Keep in mind, if someone is a gossip – it’s very likely that they’ll have something to say about you when your back is turned.
  3. The Noisy Colleague: The ultimate distraction, individuals who have loud conversations on their mobile phones, or listen to blaring music on their headphones can often cause the people around them to perform poorly. Be mindful of your volume when you’re going about your daily schedule. The more considerate you are of others will likely affect their response when you ask them to turn it down a notch.

So we’ve identified the common office irritations, now how does one deal with them when they begin to infringe on your corporate environment – potentially leading to bad employee relations?

  • Be Assertive: Don’t charge in like a bull that’s seen red. Reflect on what exactly is bothering you and then communicate with the person who is causing your discomfort. The best thing you can do is ask them to change their habits, and then leave the ball in their court.  
  • Limit Contact: You’ve communicated with your colleague and employee relations are becoming hostile. Try and limit contact as much as possible. You can’t force someone to be more considerate, so the best thing would be to try and avoid the annoyance if you can’t get away from it.
  • Get Perspective: Asking your colleague to take their personal calls in the boardroom or eat their food on the terrace is highly hypocritical if you can’t follow your own advice. Make sure that you’re open to criticism before you unleash yours on others, or you might find yourself in the opposite position – where you’re the one getting picked on.

Any good employee relations specialist will tell you that the office has a similar dynamic to a spouse, in that you can’t get away from it. Making an effort to be slightly more thoughtful in the foods you eat, the conversations you partake in, and the volume at which you go about your day, will make it easier for you to communicate your own frustrations- should they arise. Office relationships require consistent maintenance – so do your part, and reap the benefits of good employee relations.

Bella Gray is a business blogger from her office space Leeds. A maestro of tips and strategies for navigating the workplace, Gray is the professional go-to-gal for all your corporate solutions.