(Editor’s note: Our thoughts and prayers remain with the police officers, first responsers, and people of Boston. It is only with true love and compassion that we can begin to mend what is broken in the world.)

Today on The Gottman Relationship Blog, we will bring The Workplace series to a close by discussing rituals of connection in coworker relationships. However, before we proceed with today’s posting, allow us to briefly recap. 

Over the course of the past three weeks, we shared Dr. Gottman’s advice for building better emotional connections in coworker relationships, revealed common mistakes we make in the workplace, myth-busted old notions of “correct” professional behavior necessary for moving ahead, and introduced you to the real path towards achieving success in the business world: 

  • We shared a list of things to do for your coworkers to build emotional connection. 
  • We shared an exercise to help you sharpen your emotional communication skills.
  • We shared an exercise to help you understand how your past may affect your emotional connection with coworkers.
  • We shared a list of things to do with your coworkers to build emotional connection.
  • We shared an activity to find shared meaning in your relationships with coworkers.
  • We shared two articles published in the Harvard Business Review that reference Dr. Gottman’s research. One discussed the ideal praise to criticism ratio for workplace relationships, while the other explained the delicate art of giving feedback. 

Workplace rituals can be a powerful way for coworkers to demonstrate and build their emotional connection. Whether or not the following examples occur in your job, they may give you some ideas for instituting rituals that can help you improve emotional connections with coworkers in the future.

Introductions: How new people are introduced and welcomed into a work group can have a significant impact on their ability to assimilate and perform. The more your work group can do to create rituals that make a new member feel welcome, the better. 

Arrivals and departures: Hellos and good-byes are simple rituals that can go a long way toward building rapport among coworkers. Don’t be afraid to take a few extra minutes around the coffee pot in the morning or the coat rack at the end of the day. 

Team meetings: Meetings can become even more productive if the people in attendance can be fully present and emotionally connected as they interact. The most important thing is that people feel free to speak their minds and their hearts to the group. Then, they’ll be in a better state of mind to focus on the agenda before them. 

Birthday celebrations: The wonderful thing about celebrating birthdays in the workplace is that everybody has one! Make the celebration short and sweet, and don’t dwell on the honoree’s age – some folks are quite sensitive about this issue. 

Recognition of special accomplishments: Many organizations sponsor rituals like “employee of the month” awards as a way to acknowledge extraordinary contributions. If the goal of such rituals is to foster emotional connection among coworkers, then it’s best to allow peer groups to select their own winners. This helps to establish a climate of appreciation. 

Do you currently participate in rituals like these at your place of work? Do you partake in other activities to connect with coworkers that we did not list? We would love to hear about them! Join the discussion on our Facebook page. For more ideas for establishing rituals of connection with coworkers, check out Dr. John Gottman’s The Relationship Cure

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The Workplace: Rituals of Connection with Coworkers
Ellie Lisitsa

Ellie Lisitsa is a staff writer at The Gottman Institute and a regular contributor to The Gottman Relationship Blog. Ellie is pursuing her B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on Cognitive Dissonance at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.