Relationship Rx

Workplace collegiality is vital to personal well-being and corporate health. Create the right environment for coworkers to flourish together

Human beings are social creatures. It’s a fact that causes us both satisfaction and grief in the context of the Canadian workplace. Forty years ago, researchers Angus Campbell, Philip Ernest Converse and Willard L. Rodgers discovered that the average adult would spend a third of his life at work. The researchers determined a causal relationship between time we spend at work and life satisfaction. Given the time committed to work, they said, between 20 and 25% of life satisfaction was strongly impacted by workplace relationships. That was 40 years ago; the effect has arguably amplified for an employee in 2013. In the space of a generation, technology and the economy have exerted tremendous force on work expectations. The hours we spend at work have increased and the ability to leave work behind has diminished with the advent of the always-available and connected workforce.

The new workplace reality and its attendant stressors have a direct impact on personal resiliency and the ability to engage in collegial, respectful relationships. Dr. Joti Samra is a clinical psychologist, organizational consultant, and part of the team that developed Guarding Minds @ Work (GMW), an online, researched-based resource for companies that are interested in social and mental health in the workplace. Samra says that in the workplace, role expectations are important and the value placed on your relationship with an immediate supervisor has both cultural and personal meaning.

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