We are more than just colleagues- We are a family

Estimated read time 7 min read

Companies often say, “We are more than just colleagues- We are a family.” What are the elements within a company that can make this statement true?

Ever since the masses within the population started to migrate to cities back in the industrial age in search of work and sustainable growth and development within their lives, we have seen a significant change of process, relations, job descriptions, and methods of operations over the years. Society has transformed its working class into a system that operates on a scale grander as opposed to half a century ago.

Most of the industries in this day and age have evolved a working model that is more ‘work smart, not hard and this has shifted both the mindsets of the majority of employees as well as incentivized the innovations employers and business owners aspire to adopt within their organizations.

At some point in our lives, we have found ourselves working with, or for somebody; whether an individual or an organization. This might be for whatever personal reason; paying the bills, chasing a career, job security and sustainability or even for the love and passion of keeping busy and being productive. We find ourselves on most mornings in a week disabling (and some of us snoozing) our alarms, dragging our feet to the bathroom so that we can get ready for the day ahead of us.

Is it not crazy to imagine that most of the time we spend in a typical week is spent at the office? And if some of us are not at the office, we are running errands on behalf of the organizations that employ us. This would mean that the relationships that we forge with our colleagues and our predecessors need to be sufficient, sustainable, respectable and most importantly, genuine. Often in most company speeches, you tend to hear a term that is repeated countlessly, “We are more than just colleagues, we are a family.”

Now, while some of us may roll our eyes sarcastically or make memes about it after work, there is usually a message being communicated there. From both the employee and the employer. Do we ever take a minute to sit back and try and figure out what those ten words might really mean? Let us objectively discuss three factors that both sides might consider as family accommodative within the workplace setting:

What makes workplace colleagues family?

  1. Are you a supportive Employer/ Employee?

Under what circumstances would you consider a fellow workmate a family member within your organization? Is it because you have your lunch breaks together? Do you have similarities both in and out of work? Do you share the same visions for the future? Did you befriend each other during the interview sessions and grew the relationship from there onwards?

There are so many things that one can think to add to the paragraph above. Each of us comes with a story, a desire and a goal to work on in order to further ourselves and those who mean something to us. Fortunately or unfortunately, we still have individuals that carry the, “you’re born alone and you will die alone” mentality. This is not so sustainable if we are being honest. We all need support one way or another. Even if you were ‘born alone,’ you still needed your parents’ support to grow and nurture you to be this individual sitting in front of a panel seeking a job, don’t you?

There is power and progress in support. Effective support. Support breeds motivation and that breeds vision which then breeds action, perseverance and results. The system is more complex but that is a simple way to envision this model. Every morning that you wake up and go to work, make a habit of creating a supportive mindset. You’ll be surprised how many of your colleagues and even clients will gravitate towards you.

  • Are you there just to work and go home?

Many of us out here (myself included) would much rather just get to work, plug in our earphones, put on our favorite 80’s and 90’s soul playlist, crack a few jokes with colleagues and just dive into the work in order to meet set targets for the day. But is that all there is for to coming to work? Is that all we really want? There is a saying that goes ‘all work and no play makes Jill a dull boy.’

Sure, some work settings have a little more of a serious atmosphere than others, but that does not mean that we need to be robotic in our daily operations. Between the hours you leave your house and come back in the evening, you should always ask yourself at the end of that day; “how many people have I made smile today? How many have I been kind to? How many did I genuinely support? Did I create value in someone else’s life, other than my own?”

Nowadays, life is moving too fast. Days go by and it often feels like you blinked and three years went by. It is important to live in the moment in whatever situation you find yourself in. We already established that we spend most of our time at work. Why would you want to be so manual, so synchronized, and so robotic when you sit in that chair? Please, as you reflect on this, keep in mind that your organization still expects you to perform to the required extent. All play and no work might also make for a distasteful track record.

  • Apart from just work, do you make an effort to grow the relationships with your colleagues?

This goes back to similarities, common interests, and forging more than just an “at work” relationship. Call centers, for example, deal with a majority of different people on any given day and in my experience, call center agents have some of the funniest, wildest, and most unimaginable stories due to the variety of people they engage with on a day today. It is the same with many other organizations. If you are insightful, you can socialize with colleagues and use some of their challenges, experiences, and success stories to grow yourself within your organization. Do not be malicious in this activity though. It has to be a genuine approach. Nobody likes a manipulator.

Seek out mentorship from the individuals in the organization that is in the position you would want to be in. Learn from them and always be eager to take on responsibility- and not just for a pay raise or other incentives. Maintain a marathon mindset. Responsibilities breed experience and experience breeds rewards- not just in the workplace, but in your setups on the side that you wish to turn into passive income streams (assuming you have one in mind). You never know, your seniors often end up being the ones who open the doors that you pray for to open. They are beings just like you. Respect them but don’t fear them!

I hope that after those three points, the idea of a “work family” seems a little less obnoxious or cliché. There are so many other things that can be integrated within these three points, though I would like you to try to think of a few ideas of your own that you can implement towards working to build more stable, genuine, and sustainable work-family relationships. I will leave you with this quote I often ask myself when I am looking to make an amendment to my ethics, “if one mind can change the world, imagine all that could change if a group of collective minds fused their thoughts, ideologies, and aspirations?” Think about it.

Written By:

Ian Mwangi

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