Five tips for building relationships with workmates

20 August 2018

R U OK?Day has become synonymous with checking in on the mental health of friends, family members or colleagues for one special day a year. But shouldn’t we ask people, “Are you OK?” on a much more regular basis? Shouldn’t checking in with people become as much a part of our daily routine as having a morning coffee?

Here’s a few easy ways to make this part of your daily working life. R U OK?Day is an excellent opportunity to share these ideas with your employees so you can all be looking out for one another.


Five tips to engage with your colleagues every day:
  1. Try to get to really know and understand your colleagues. When you make a genuine effort to get to know someone, you are much more likely to notice the signs they may be experiencing mental health issues. It’s then easier to ask the R U OK? question. Asking some of these uncommon, trust building questions is a great place to start if you’re stuck for ideas.
  2. It’s important to really listen when your colleagues are talking to you, not just with half your mind on the job. Stop what you are doing, maintain eye contact and don’t let anyone interrupt you. This conversation may be much more than just a simple chat about the weather or a work process. If they feel more connected with you because of your ability to genuinely listen, they will be more likely to open up.
  3. Another easy way to establish a strong connection with workmates is by simply being civil at work. Say hello and goodbye each day, thank them for their help, check in with people who are having an extended period off work, and be kind to everyone around you. These things might seem small, but they could mean the difference between someone communicating with you when they’re not OK or not at all.
  4. Checking in with someone doesn’t mean always asking “Are you OK?”. It can also be, “How are you going this week?”, “How are you feeling?” or asking them to grab a coffee with you outside the office. Different questions work for different people, as do different settings.
  5. Let people know you are always available for a chat. Keeping lines of communication open with those around you makes it much easier to check in on a regular basis. If you have concerns that someone is experiencing a mental health issue, ensure you reach out to the person. Support service numbers can be found below.


In this article we provide some simple tips to prepare you for checking in and looking after yourself throughout the process.


National 24/7 Crisis Support numbers
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Lifeline 13 11 14
beyondblue 1300 22 4636
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78


Youth Specific Services
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Headspace 1800 650 890


This article was featured in our monthly e-Newsletter SuperFriend News which provides practical advice for employers to in creating positive, cohesive and productive environments for all employees.