Five ways to check in on your work colleague…

check in with work colleague

As we’re sure everyone would agree, we all deserve to feel happy, fulfilled and content with our everyday work lives. 

check in with work colleague

When we see someone who doesn’t seem to be doing so well, or may be struggling in their home or work life, it’s important that we do our best to either actively help, or at least not make their struggles worse. If you’ve noticed that a colleague isn’t doing so well, or seems to be a little ‘off’ recently, there’s nothing more powerful than simply checking in on them to see if they’re okay and showing that you’re here for them should something be going on at home, or indeed in the workplace. 

That in mind, we’ll take a look below at how to check in on a work colleague to see if they’re okay, and what you might want to consider doing if they tell you that they’re not doing so well. 

1. Understand the signs

Before you make the move to ask someone if they’re okay, it’s best to be a little observant first to ensure you’re picking up on any signs. Sometimes we can be a little unsure about whether someone needs to be asked ‘Are you okay?’ And keeping an eye out for the signs is the perfect way to make sure. 

When it comes to doing this, it’s okay to make some assumptions when it comes to gauging someone’s mental health standing and if they’re struggling. 

If you’re noticing that someone has routinely been down or they are not their happy or chipper selves, these might be the only signs that you need to ask them if they’re doing okay, and if there’s anything you can do. 

A few common signs that you may want to be on the look out for include: 

  • Low morale 
  • Fatigue
  • Uncooperative behaviour or isolation
  • Uncharacteristically poor work output
  • More sick days
  • Sadness and moodiness
  • Anxiety 

Although some of these issues and signs might be hard to spot at first glance, it’s always a good idea to do your best to keep watch for them and to be sure you’re not missing some of these. 

2. Have a chat

Once you’ve taken a look for the signs above and are sure that you might be working alongside a colleague that isn’t doing so well, you can then move forward with having a conversation. 

Keep in mind that not everyone is going to be open to talking about their issues or if they’re dealing with anxiety or depression to not — so be sure not to take a negative response too seriously. 

Offer up your time to have a chat about what might be troubling your colleague and let them know that you’re here to support, listen and respect them. The simple act of offering an ear to listen is quite powerful and this may get the ball rolling when it comes to encouraging your peers to get some extra help should they need it. 

To end, it’s always good to be sure you’re offering privacy and respect by letting your co-worker know you’re not going to relay or share this information without their permission. 

3. Work to mitigate the potential issue

In a lot of cases, workplace-specific issues that could be causing poor mental health for your co-workers can be mitigated by a simple chat and a change of workflow. 

If you’re finding that your job’s ultra-high demands or work conditions for that particular co-worker are damaging their mental health, morale or anything else, you may be able to work to help out. 

As you’ll agree, it’s a little easier to put in a word for someone else rather than ourselves, so offering to have a chat with a manager or fellow colleagues about adapting a workflow or reducing expectations may be something that could help. 

4. Guide them to a solution

In line with our tip above, it’s important to understand that although you may want to help as much as you can, it isn’t your responsibility to solve a fellow staff member’s workplace woes. 

However, you can offer some tips or guide to a solution. 

Whether this includes suggesting your colleague speaks with a manager, therapist, family member or anyone else, you should offer this type of guidance and support. You might find that just by outlining a few steps, your fellow team member makes the moves on their own and deals with their issues all on their own. 

5. Continue checking in

To end, it is always a great idea to routinely check in when you can. 

This will let your colleagues know that you’re still there for them should an issue re-occur or if they’re feeling low and need someone to talk with. Keep in mind that being open and conversing about issues is one of the most powerful things you can do in a workplace and you’re going to greatly reduce a team member’s chance of dealing with their problems in isolation. 

All that said, be sure to keep an eye out on your colleagues and work to start a conversation. Although rather simple, this act of listening could be life-changing. 

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