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Coworker relationships can spark a business

There's no denying that positive employee interactions help drive a company, but despite this fact, not all workplaces are giving their employees enough opportunities to create and maintain these relationships. According to a recent ProOpinion poll, only 33 percent of business professionals said that their place of employment provided opportunities to build positive relationships with colleagues. This leaves two-thirds of business professionals to fend for themselves, which may or may not result in the kinds of interactions that help increase workplace performance and improve employee morale.

If your company hasn't done much to encourage or foster these types of positive relationships among your employees, now's the time to develop a new strategy. Here's how.

Start building trust
The best way to start encouraging positive relationships is by building a framework of trust, according to the Houston Chronicle. Start by acting as a role model and demonstrating to your employees that you are reliable when it comes to handling your responsibilities. Strive to do your best as a boss and your employees should have no trouble following suit. After a few months, you'll find that your team has come to rely on one another to accomplish tasks, which is a great step in the right direction.

"Create an open, honest relationship among your employees by encouraging plenty of communication."

Be open and encourage positive reinforcement
Create an open, honest relationship among your employees by encouraging plenty of communication. Make yourself available whenever possible to field questions or help solve issues, and ask your employees to do the same. Be up front about what's going on with your company and elaborate on industry news to show that there's nothing going on behind the scenes that your employees should know about. It's also a good idea to focus on positive reinforcements whenever you can. Don't hold back praise when someone completes a difficult task or a big project successfully. If your employees feel valued and recognized for their achievements, they'll be more likely to remain positive about their jobs and strive to continue the good work in the future.

Have a sense of humor
When it comes down to it, the daily operations of your business probably don't result in life-or-death situations, so encourage everyone to relax and have a sense of humor, especially when things don't go as planned. Don't be afraid to make jokes and enjoy your time spent in the office. If you reveal to your employees that you don't take everything so seriously, they will see that it's OK to have fun at work and loosen up every now and then.

Promote teamwork
Teamwork is often a necessity when it comes to accomplishing goals, and asking employees to work together is a good way to encourage them to get to know one another. Put together teams to work on certain projects, and consider switching up the teams when it comes time to work on another task. This will help everyone in the office interact with people who they may not have spoken to much otherwise.

Provide space to socialize
Most workplace socialization occurs during breaks and at lunch, so start by setting up a decent break room where people can sit, relax, enjoy their food and interact with their co-workers. Furnish it with spacious tables and offer perks like snack or beverage machines. You can also provide spaces for your employees to use during work hours to accomplish group tasks and conduct meetings. Quiet rooms with large seating areas and comfortable seating will help employees feel relaxed and open up to their colleagues. You might even want to consider the benefits of an open workplace setup instead of confining your employees to cubicles.

xComfortable spaces to socialize promote positive employee relationships.

Organize team-building activities or outings
Spending time together outside of work is a great way for employees to get to know one another and develop positive relationships. Create boundaries and limits for these interactions, then schedule fun activities and outings that people can choose to participate in. For example, you might want to head to a local bar after work to grab a drink and play pool, or head to a park for a game of softball. Give your team a few options and let them decide which activities they'd like to do. Even something as simple as going out to lunch or ordering catering in the office can be enough to spark employee interaction.

Celebrate important events
Celebrating holidays, birthdays and other important milestones is a great way to foster a sense of community among your employees and offer positive recognition. Organize holiday parties, birthday celebrations and even company-wide emails to recognize an employee's work anniversary and highlight his or her accomplishments. Ask your employees which types of celebrations they would be interested in and include them in the planning process to ensure that you get it right.

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