You likely spend at least 40 hours of your week at work. That’s a long time – it’s enough to watch four to eight whole seasons of your favorite show. That’s almost an entire week’s worth of sleep. Work is a significant portion of your life, and if you don’t feel welcomed for a significant portion of your life, it’s probably going to have some heavy negative effects on you.
If things aren’t going well with your work relationships and you can honestly say you don’t feel welcomed in the office, it’s time to explore some solutions.
1. Check Yourself First
If you have a predisposition to be anxious or introverted, you might be overanalyzing the situation. Your coworkers may also be anxious or introverted, minimizing the potential for a warm and welcoming environment. Feeling unwelcome may be the result of overanalyzing the situation – things might be fine.
You might also want to consider what your work environment is like at the moment. If everyone is stressed out, communication breakdowns may happen. Perhaps you have been given this job because a previous employee was let go, and the rest of the team are still a bit shaken.
On the other hand, if your coworkers can tell that you’re under a lot of pressure, they may want to give you space. Make sure to talk about what you’re dealing with, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re a little overwhelmed.
2. Participate in Group Activities
If you’re shy or reserved, your coworkers simply may not know you that well. Attending a company picnic or participating in an office activity every now and then may help to improve your relationships with your coworkers. They’ll become more familiar with you and begin to develop a rapport as a natural result of team building or bonding activities. Even if you don’t attend them all, a few here and there will show that you do have a desire to be included.
3. Listen as Much as You Talk
Familiarity comes from ease of conversation. An imbalance of listening and talking can create an environment that doesn’t create the space for ideal working relationships. You can’t expect others to hear you if you aren’t saying much, and you can’t expect to hear others if your voice is the loudest.
If you listen without talking, people won’t have a chance to hear your ideas and understand your value. If you talk without listening, your coworkers will feel like you don’t value them. It’s a delicate balance. Make sure you’re doing an equal amount of listening and talking. Take time to consider what people are saying before you respond. Make sure your response adds something to the conversation without stepping on anyone’s toes. It’s a delicate balance.
4. Report Malicious Behavior
What to do if you haven’t overanalyzed the situation in your new office, and your new coworkers are really ostracizing or even harassing you? Above all – don’t stay passive about it!
If you feel unwelcomed because you’re being treated badly, you need to take action. Many people who are the brunt of harsh remarks or jokes in the workplace often fear that speaking to their higher ups will make things worse. You need to say something – even if you’re being cyberbullied by your coworkers. Harassment outside the workplace will inevitably follow you into the office. You shouldn’t have to feel unsafe or unwelcomed due to the hostile behavior of others, and your higher ups are obligated to find a resolution.
5. Find a Better Job
If you can’t get to the root of the issue and find a resolution, it may be time to start searching for a different position. Perhaps you aren’t a cultural fit for the company. Maybe your ideas would best be applied in a different setting. It’s unhealthy to spend so much time in an environment that makes you feel bad about yourself. You deserve to feel happy and valued at your place of employment.
Quietly update your professional social media profiles and your resume, and start looking for a better environment when you’re off the clock. If you find a great opportunity, take it. They don’t come along very often.
There are a multitude of solutions for bridging communication gaps and repairing unwelcoming feelings at work, even if it means working someplace else. Value your feelings, trust your intuition, and encourage an environment where you feel like a co-equal part of the team.
About the author:
Ariana Williams is a pedagogy graduate with a knack for writing, deeply interested in all things connected to self-improvement, lifelong learning, and finding an enriching career. Feel free to visit @AriWilliamsAri and perhaps say “Hello!” to her.