You spend a lot of time interacting with coworkers. Even if you’re working remotely you’re still communicating with them often. That can have a large impact on your emotional well being. If a particular person is miserable they are likely to make you miserable at least to some degree.
Is there anything you can do to help change the situation?
You might be a generally happy person. It might be natural to want to spread that happiness to others including your coworkers. And maybe you’ve already figured that out. But if you’re struggling with it, there are a couple of things you can do that may help change the situation for the better and for all involved.
Schedule Time With Them
It’s impossible to know what the other person’s situation is. You can make guesses and try to offer them something that will lead to happiness. But you’re still just guessing. A good way to do more than guessing is to schedule time with the person.
Schedule a lunch with them. Schedule a walk with them. Schedule a regular Zoom call with them where the goal is just to talk about each other a bit and get to know each other. Nothing too in depth or anything like that. Just like two people trying to learn about each other so they can figure out a good working relationship.
Talking about doing this happens often. We should get lunch some time… Actually scheduling time with someone shows that they are a priority to you. You’re putting a future time block on your calendar so you can get to know them.
Highlight Their Strengths
During your time with others you can learn about them. You can learn about their past. You can learn about what they feel they are good at doing and maybe even what they feel are some weaknesses. And even if they don’t tell you these things you can probably pick up on them by talking with them.
Once you start to learn about someone’s strengths, try to find situations at work where you can highlight the person’s strengths. Maybe there is an upcoming project that you will be a part of and a particular aspect would be a great fit for your coworker. Do what you can to get them on the team in that capacity.
When our work highlights our strengths it seems to build our confidence. It seems to build our fulfillment. It seems to make us happier. Others appreciate our work. We feel good about it. We may even want to continue to get better in this area.
You probably won’t succeed in making someone feel happy. They may be going through something and no matter what you do they likely need some time to get through whatever is affecting them. And it could backfire. You may make them feel guilty about not being happy with their work and that just compounds the issue.
But you can perhaps help them the good old fashioned way. By prioritizing time with them and getting to know them with that time. Obviously it’s important that the other person wants to do this. But that’s part of the effort on your part. Trying to figure out a shared activity that the other person may want to do.
By getting to know someone better you can learn about them and see if there is anything you can do to help them feel good about their work. That often leads to more life and work satisfaction. And also a happier state of mind.