How to Support Your Colleagues at Work

June 30, 2023


If you’ve ever worked somewhere with a poor working environment, it can significantly affect your mental health. Healthy, supportive workplaces are crucial in allowing you to enjoy your job and thrive at work.

However, these workplaces aren’t born overnight. They need everyone to be on board with building each other up and creating an environment that promotes inclusion and positivity.

Here are some of our top tips for supporting your colleagues at work.

Communication is key

One thing that great workplaces have in common is positive communication. Communicating with your colleagues helps build a relationship and can inspire teamwork. This communication doesn’t need to be long, deep discussions about life but could be something as simple as saying ‘hi’ when you pass them in the halls or asking what they got up to on the weekend when making your morning cup of coffee.

Another thing to consider is checking in with your colleagues regularly. Again, this doesn’t need to be anything too deep, but asking how their workload is going and how they’re feeling can go a long way. Be sure that you pay attention to what they’re saying and maintain eye contact throughout as a sign of respect.

If your workplace allows it, you could also consider setting up a group chat on a social media platform or group message app to chat with your team outside of work hours if that’s something that appeals to you.

Recognise individual challenges

Each person faces their own unique challenges at work. Some people struggle with clients, while others may feel swamped with meetings. Observe what triggers are unique to those around you so you can offer support when needed. For example, a new employee will have different challenges than someone working at the same place for five years. Think back to when you first started – what did you struggle with? This knowledge can be invaluable to your colleague – even if it’s something as simple as showing them where the toilets are or offering to have lunch with them.

Offer to help

One step further from these unique challenges is offering to help. We’ve all had times at work when we’re absolutely swamped, stressed, or burnt out. Often, these symptoms are easily recognised, meaning you can assist where possible. It’s crucial to note here that you should never sacrifice your work for someone else’s. However, if you can take something off your colleague’s plate, offering to help can go a long way.

Not only will it help out your workmate, but it will also help to build a relationship with your co-workers who can help you out the next time you’re under pressure. It might even be as simple as making them a cup of coffee if they’re too busy to run to the kitchen. Kindness is a two-way street!

Share some advice

Another great way to support your work colleagues is by giving advice. If you’ve been at the company or in the industry for a while, draw on experience to offer some advice to others. If you are choosing to provide advice, however, be sure to keep a few things in mind:

  • Always ask before giving advice. No one likes feeling as though they’re being undermined – even if that wasn’t your intention! Be sure to ask your colleague if they want some advice.
  • If someone has come to you with a problem, the most important thing to remember is not to judge them. Maybe they’ve made a mistake or are struggling with what to do next. Whatever it is, reassure them that they won’t be judged and offer kind and helpful feedback.
  • As they say, honesty is the best policy! Honesty doesn’t always have to mean rudeness, though. If your honest feedback is a little uncomfortable, be sure to deliver it respectfully.

Build your relationships

This one might sound obvious but build a relationship with your colleagues! After all, these are the people you see every day. Plenty of people have quit jobs they love because of the people or stayed in jobs they hated for the same reason.

Learn about your colleague’s interests, as these can be used when building rapport with someone. While it’s essential to set professional boundaries, try to be friendly to all team members – even the ones you may not be the biggest fan of!

Praise goes a long way

In work and life, we’re much quicker to offer constructive criticism than we are praised. Not only does praise boost confidence, but it also shows your colleagues that you appreciate them.

It shouldn’t solely be the role of the supervisor or boss to give praise. We all could be better at telling someone when they’ve done a good job! If you’re still unsure where to start, look at great, specific ways to pay them a compliment.

Perform random acts of kindness

Random acts of kindness are so easy to do. They feel great too! Doing something kind and unexpected can improve someone else’s day. This doesn’t have to be anything huge, but it could be things like:

  • Buy a coffee for your desk buddy.
  • Bring in doughnuts for a special afternoon treat.
  • Take a colleague to lunch.
  • Leave a fun sticky note on someone’s desk.

Keep positivity up

One of the last (but certainly not least)! Important parts about supporting your by keeping morale up. Even if you’re having a bit of an ‘off’ day, there’s such a thing as faking it until you make it! Whether it’s a daily joke you tell your colleagues or repeating your weekend Hijinx, keep everyone smiling!

Why is it important to support your colleagues at work?

When building a supportive workplace culture, it’s important to understand what the benefits are. Some of these benefits include the following.

  • Offering kindness can boost staff morale.
  • The building of leadership skills through helping others.
  • A happy work environment can reduce stress and improve your health.
  • Productivity is increased when colleagues support each other.

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