How To Be A Good Coworker While Working Remotely

By Nick Ellis, Editor at The Water Coolest

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Being a good coworker is hard… and it’s even more difficult in today’s environment with many of us working remotely. In an effort to climb the corporate ladder, some may think it’s best to lie or slander their peers to get ahead. But I’ll tell ya, that’s not the way to do it, folks, because while promotions and a higher salary are nice, having the respect of your coworkers is even better. *drives to work in a ’99 Pontiac Sunfire and is late on his gas bill.*

Now, if you’re a former or current coworker of mine, you might be reading this confused as to why the annoying guy from across the hallway is writing about something he clearly knows absolutely jack sh*t about. But, luckily for you, in between doing data analysis and coffee runs, I managed to observe what fellow employees were doing around the office that seemed to put a smile on people’s faces.

Since tip number one is to obviously exclude Nick from any meetings, let’s move on to number two.

Check-in on them

When you’re working remotely, it’s so easy to just do your work you are assigned and forget that your peers exist. You lone wolf it in your home office (or on the couch), filtering through spreadsheets and checking things off the list until it’s quitting time, without remembering that you actually have coworkers.

But in between meetings three and four of the day, be sure to fire off an IM to one of your teammates. Check-in on them, ask them how they’re doing, and catch up with how work has been. They’re likely in the same situation you are and wouldn’t hate to talk to a familiar face.

Break the barrier

While you’re talking to them, break the barrier of just talking about work or the weather. Fair warning though, this might be easier for some coworkers than others. It’s definitely worth it though, as some of my favorite times in (and outside) of the office are joking around with coworkers and friends about topics that have absolutely nothing to do with our 9 – 5 gigs.

The more friendly you are with coworkers (not in a weird way, Tom), the more enjoyable work will be, and the more likely they’ll be to help you out if you’ve hit a roadblock on an assignment. But let’s be honest, you can only pretend to care about Tom’s baseball card collection for so long.

Acknowledge their hard work

If they do end up assisting you in your work or even if you just notice how much @$$ they’re kicking, be sure to give credit where credit is due. I always try to recognize my coworkers to ensure they’re properly noticed, whether it be an intercompany reward system or shooting their boss an email complimenting all of their hard work. Trust me, it goes a long way. And they, they might just return the favor.

And if you’re worried that your recognition will push them ahead of you in the corporate rat race, I’ll refer to you the words of my favorite 6’ 3” New York Times bestselling author (AND FRIEND**) Shea Serrano: “help someone else get a W I promise it won’t take away from your Ws.”

Thank them

Last, but not least, don’t forget to thank them. A little appreciation goes a long way, and if someone takes time out of their busy day to help your incompetent @ss out, be sure to say thank you. Because mother dearest raised you right. And if you can’t find the time to type ‘ty’, drop them this beautiful speech from DJ Khaled.

** I met Shea back in 2018 where he signed my book and we took a picture together. Also, he let me stand next to him on four steps, so it appears like I’m 7’5” in the photo. He is, without a doubt, 6’3”.

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The Water Coolest is a daily business newsletter consisting of business news, financial advice, and unfiltered commentary. Delivered fresh in your inbox every morning so you're ready to snap necks and cash checks. Written by Tyler Morrin, AJ Glagolev, Nick Ellis, and Ian Barto.