Last week I had lunch with people I worked with twenty-three years ago. Twenty-three years. I have long forgotten the projects we worked on, the deadlines, and deliverables that were important at the time. What I do remember, are Jim and Siobhan. Some of my closest friends and the people most important to me in the world, are the people I’ve worked with.
It makes sense that we make friends at work; it’s where we spend a lot of time. And the people we work with make work fun or miserable.
Building relationships and making friends at work are a couple of reasons virtual and hybrid work may feel challenging. How do you build relationships with people you rarely or never see?
I’ve never met Sarah who lives in California and codes our website, or David who hosts our website, or Jessica, our attorney in Boston. I rarely see Dana or Diana, who work for Candid Culture. But I feel connected to them, nevertheless. We email, text, and meet via phone.
There is a considerable amount of research citing the connection between having good business relationships and employee engagement, retention, and performance. When we feel we belong and have good relationships at work, we are happier and do better work. It makes perfect sense.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about my coworkers who I traveled with for weeks on end, who endured a CEO who made us practice and re-write presentations until 1:00 am for a meeting the next morning, and the coworkers I worked with at the World Trade Center. As much as I appreciated and cared about the people I worked with, I’m not sure how often I told them that they made my work world better.
Valentine’s Day is a day we express appreciation for the people closest to us. Don’t limit your appreciation to your loved ones at home; include your coworkers who make your work fun and who help you get things done. Of course, I hope you’ll express appreciation more than once a year, but Valentine’s Day is an occasion not to miss.
Write the people you work with, who matter most to you, a handwritten note that they’ll keep for a long, long time. You can see our assortment of greeting cards for the workplace HERE. I’ll admit that I collect stationery and love giving and receiving handwritten notes. I suspect the people you work with will appreciate receiving a handwritten note too.