Working in any job can be difficult but when adding in office politics, work can become almost impossible. Everyone has different personalities and it can be hard to navigate difficult coworkers on a daily basis. Here are three tips to help deal with coworkers so that you can stay focused on your job:
- Avoid “watercooler” gossip- It is one thing to come home to your family and friends and blow off a little steam by talking about an incident, but do not discuss these issues at work. It may seem like you can trust your coworkers to remain quiet, in many cases you can, but word spreads like disease in an office environment and the person you are complaining about will find out. Avoid any extra drama that may be caused by talking about people behind their backs.
- Create boundaries- When dealing with difficult coworkers, it is important to maintain a professional relationship; there is no reason you must be best friends with them. Create boundaries that prevent you having to spend extended amounts of time with any coworker that you have problems with. By limiting the amount of personal time you spend with this coworker, you can hopefully avoid any extra stress. Try changing the time you eat lunch or taking a walk when you feel any frustration starting to rise. Keep boundaries between your professional interactions and personal ones in order to deal better with a difficult coworker.
- Confront them with any major issues- The best way to get rid of any issue with a coworker is to try and work out a solution with them. Do not be rude or try to incite anger; just talk with them about the issue and politely try and come up with a solution that works for both of you. If your coworker becomes angry or does not agree with a solution, try talking to the HR department about mediation. By allowing issues to go unresolved, the tension will continue to rise and it will become more difficult for you to work with your coworker.
All of these tips will help you to better handle working with a difficult coworker, and just remember that they are just one part of the job. You will always have to deal with people you do not like and find ways to handle your differences. This being said, if you feel your coworker is crossing any lines such as harassment, then file a formal complaint with your superior. It is one thing to deal with someone who is very nosy or steals your food, but you do not have to tolerate any illegal harassment. So, take charge of your interactions at work and find a way to be comfortable in your office environment.