Everyone needs a work ally. That’s someone who helps you deal with stressful moments and offers help when you need it most — but finding and keeping that ally first begins with forging a connection. Inviting a co-worker out to lunch or coffee is a great way to start, and engaging in conversation that shows you care is an even better way to keep the connection going. Using these phrases when chatting over your afternoon lattes, and using them in your workplace dialogue too, can help you build a strong rapport. 

“Hello” and “goodbye” 

Building bonds with your co-workers doesn’t actually require grand gestures. In fact, new research confirms it’s often the little things that have the biggest impact. A new report shows that simply saying hello and goodbye to employees each day not only garners more trust, but also keeps teams more engaged.

This report shows that colleagues who took the opportunity to greet their team members or ask them about their weekends were better able to open “a line of informal communication,” as well as a “springboard” for longer conversations that give way to employees’ ideas, concerns, and personal lives. With these findings in mind, make a point of dedicating a few minutes each day to greeting your colleagues. Maybe that means taking a quick lap around the office first thing each morning to see how everyone is doing, or doing the same on your way out each night. It goes without saying that you should be engaging with your colleagues beyond a morning hello and evening goodbye, but taking the time to acknowledge them at the start and end of the day is a great way to demonstrate that you care, and begin to build a friendship. 

“Thank you” and “I appreciate you” 

Conversations with colleagues often consist of complaints and negative comments. Think: “I’m so tired,” “I’m so busy,” or “How will I make it to Friday?” If we replace these phrases with a more positive practice — one that promotes feelings of gratitude — physical and psychological benefits can follow. Phrases like “thank you” and “I appreciate you” might sound too simple to have an impact, but giving compliments in the workplace or letting others know they are appreciated can enhance performance and social interaction. Reinforce gratitude and forge closer connections with your colleagues by expressing appreciation for their work.

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