Seven Ways to Improve Workmate Relationships

A major factor that plays a role in your happiness at your job is the environment. Establishing a good relationship with your colleagues can help ease the troubles you may find yourself at work. It can also lead to better production as MindTools states, “if people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.” If you’re shy or not a people’s person, here are 7 ways to improve your relationship with your fellow employees.

  • Start with small talk – Forget the high and bye that goes on passing through the hallway. Make an effort and engage in conversation with someone. However, make sure to do that when they’re on break or not busy. If you’re trying to start a conversation while they are hard at work can have the opposite effect.
  • Eat together during breaks – Instead of sitting alone in your office or cubicle, continue to build up steam. After you have engaged in some small talk, make the effort to it together during lunch breaks. The lunch break is a great opportunity to get to know each other. Try to talk about things you would have in common with him/her.
  • Improve your listening skills – paying attention to someone goes a long way because it shows that genuinely enjoy having a conversation with this person. One of the biggest turn offs is not paying attention to someone while talking to you.
  • Avoid gossip – It’s sad that once a high school activity still takes place in the work place. Keep it professional. Don’t engage in childish acts because it is one of the quickest ways to have a bad reputation. Instead of being a bystander, stand up for the individual who is the target of gossip. This shows respect and loyalty for the individual and others around the work place.
  • Positive energy – Nobody likes a negative Nancy, so smile often, stand up straight with your chest out, and develop a cheery tone. People are gravitated by those who have positive energy and it can help by getting a lot of recognition. You can also engage in positive topics that will help bring up the mood for other people. If you express negative energy, then people will be wary of you and will most likely try to avoid you.
  • Don’t be too compelling – You want to maintain the relationship, not ruin it. It’s okay to give some space here and there. Sometimes people will need their space and it’s okay to allow that. Work can be hectic at times, so trying to start a conversation while they’re working hard can become a nuisance and just get in the way.
  • Appreciate your colleagues – Appreciating your fellow workmates can say a lot about ones character. Remembering their birthdays, brining donuts in the morning, or buying them coffee when it’s going to be a busy day is a great way to show how much you respect them. The little things you do can come with a big reward.


It can be hard making friends at your job and sometimes you won’t get the results you expect. Some people are who they are and you must respect their feelings. However, it doesn’t mean you stop trying. So put yourself out there and make some friends with familiar faces.

Nova Featured Employee – Michael

Michael Couch has been a driving force at Nova Medical Centers for more than 13 years. He currently serves as the Industrial Director for Houston East. After completing both a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters degree in Human Performance at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Michael became a leading figure at Nova. His expertise ranges from building lasting relationships with each of his clients to assisting DOT clients with questions they may have about sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes and other symptoms. He believes that a key part of his job is building trust with his clients and being there for them when they need him.

Throughout his successful career, he has built an understanding of the East Side of Houston through his ability to work with multiple types of businesses. His knowledge of OSHA has helped him bridge the gap between Nova’s services and companies that are very OSHA sensitive in this part of Houston. Many of these companies are under various OSHA Surveillance Requirements and are concerned with OSHA Recordability. Michael’s knowledge and initiative have helped him build lasting relationships with these clients as well.

Michael Couch has been married to his beautiful wife, Carolyn, for almost 24 years. They both adore their precious cat, who they named Funny Face. In his free time, Michael loves to spend time outdoors with his friends and family. He also enjoys seeing live music shows, fishing, relaxing with the occasional Starbucks, and watching his favorite college team, the University of Houston Cougars, play.

Thank you for your dedication and hard work at Nova Medical Centers, Michael!


Implementing a Culture of Safety in the Workplace

Creating and maintaining a safe work environment should be a high priority for organizations. Implementing and maintaining a safety program in your work environment can be daunting, but it is absolutely necessary. These programs are designed to make employees aware of what is going on around them in their work environment to keep them safe and healthy.

A safe workplace helps to minimize sick leaves and absenteeism, reduce the costs of injury and worker’s compensation, maximize productivity, and most importantly meet legal responsibilities and employee obligations. Below are important steps to take in order to ensure a safe workplace and promote a strong safety culture.

  • Provide visual aids. Areas, where dangerous equipment is stored, should be clearly labeled and the walkways should be highlighted with necessary signs.
  • Make sure that all employees are properly trained. The organization must provide all workers with safety training using the language they can understand. This training should be given to all new employees, with refresher courses required for existing workers or when workers switch positions within the company.
  • Ensure employees have the proper equipment. When worn correctly, protective gear can dramatically decrease your risk of injury.
  • Host monthly safety meetings. Establish a workplace health and safety committee made up of employees from different departments. The committee should meet at least once a month and keep employees and senior management informed about safety topics, inspections, injury and illness statistics, and other safety-related issues.
  • Implement emergency procedures.
  • Make new employees understand workplace risks. They need to be aware of possible general risks (fire, flood, or other natural disasters), risks that are specific to their position in the company, and a plan of action in case of an emergency.
  • Take regular breaks. Staying alert will help prevent an injury or other health conditions. Instead of scheduling more strenuous tasks in the middle of the day, do them first thing in the morning (if possible) when you are the most alert.
  • Address any concerns with your employer or Human Resources department. They need to be informed of any hazards or risks and are legally obligated to provide a safe working environment.
  • Instead of trying to lift a heavy object yourself, use mechanical aids when needed. Don’t overexert yourself.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Every job has imminent dangers, whether you are working at a place that has heavy machinery or even tripping over small items in your office. The best way to be safe is to know what’s going on around you. The more familiar you are with your settings, the more aware you’ll be of the potential hazards. Knowing your surroundings and being aware of potential hazards will help you and your colleagues avoid dangerous situations.
  • Keep emergency exits clear. Never, under any circumstance, place any object in front of an emergency exit, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Ensure that the pathway to the emergency shutoff is clear in the case that something needs to be powered down immediately.

If you believe working conditions are unsafe or unhealthy, you may file a confidential complaint with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and ask for an inspection. If possible, bring the conditions to your employer’s attention.

As regulated by OSHA and under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a workplace free of unknown health and safety hazards. If you are concerned, you have the right to speak up without fear of retaliation.


Written by Dami Falade

Team Building at Work

Although team building is one area of development that can be easily overlooked, team building activities are worth the time and effort. Team building activities are essential to establishing a culture where people enjoy coming to work, and are able to collaborate easily and trust each other.

The purpose of any team building exercise is to build a stronger group of employees. It’s a great opportunity to give people a chance to interact with one another in a non-work related way. You can have activities at work, such as a potluck, or even take your employees out to do something fun, such as bowling. Whether they are quick, 5 minute exercises or a weekend retreat, employees are taught essential collaborate skills while developing trust in each other’s abilities. Here are more benefits and importance of team building at work!

    • Increased collaboration and building team bonds. By creating activities that people can enjoy and can experience as a group, employees can build relationships and network outside of their day-to-day responsibilities, which will in turn help them in the future. Successful team building events not only bring colleagues closer together, but they also lead to more successful and creative workplace ideas.
    • Builds trust. When colleagues are forced to work on a project that is outside of their normal job responsibilities, they relax and let their guard down.
    • Motivates employees. The more comfortable employees are to express their ideas and opinions, the more confident they become. This will motivate them to take on new challenges.
    • Improves productivity. By encouraging employees to learn to work together more effectively, employees can work more efficiently.
    • Increases motivation. Employees are more motivated when they gain trust in their fellow employees, and feel confident that their work as a team is recognized and appreciated.
    • Positive energy – having fun and celebrating. Without an element of fun, there won’t be as much engagement in activities and without engagement, communication and relationships won’t improve. Team building events will reiterate the value of having fun in the workplace.
    • Communication. Everyone wants a friendly work environment, where people are comfortable and happy to talk to and work with one another. Team building exercises are created to force people to open up. Not only do colleagues learn more about each other’s skills and talents, they may learn more about each other.


Working well together is necessary for maintaining a successful and efficient company. Team building brings people together by encouraging teamwork. Fun activities allow employees to connect in a different setting. By focusing on building employee relationships, communication, and trust, companies will find more engaged and productive employees.


Written by Dami Falade

What to Do in a Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment can be described as an environment where one’s workplace is toxic and unwelcoming to the point where it’s almost impossible for them to get their job done. This also includes being repeatedly singled out from the group, constantly being berated for minuscule things, or always being the subject of a cruel joke. The harasser can be a supervisor, a fellow colleague, or even a visitor who doesn’t work for the company.

Being in a hostile work environment can be detrimental to one’s health. According to a 2017 Study from the Workplace Bullying Institute, 60.4 Million Americans are affected by workplace bullying. Those who are or have been bullied can experience high levels of stress, anxiety, inability to concentrate, and trouble sleeping – just to name a few. If there have been attempts made to confront the harasser about their offending actions and the behavior persists, here are some options to choose from so that one doesn’t feel completely stuck.

  • Consider your allies. If you have a trusted friend in the workplace, talk to them. There is a chance that your fellow colleague could be experiencing the same thing that you are. Not only is it important to know that you are not completely alone, but it’s also good to know that someone else has been made aware of what’s going on, in the case that the situation escalates.
  • Keep yourself safe. Along with having an ally, it’s also important to be conscious of the circumstances. If the harasser is your immediate supervisor or even a colleague, try to avoid situations where you might be alone with them. If they invite you out to lunch, politely decline. If they keep persisting, tell them that you brought lunch from home, or that you’re just not hungry. Even though there’s a chance that nothing will happen, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Steer clear of situations where you’re not completely comfortable.
  • If you’ve followed all three previous steps and nothing has changed, the only thing left to do is to possibly look for an escape. If you have a human resources department in your company or organization, you might want to utilize that and make them aware of the situation. However, if you simply cannot tolerate the behavior anymore, you can consider resigning. Perhaps start looking for positions elsewhere. If the opportunity arises and you do get another job somewhere else, give your supervisor your 2 weeks’ notice. Explain to them that you found another position elsewhere and that you are leaving. It is important to note that you should make a peaceful exit. You never know when you’ll need a recommendation letter, or there is a chance you could end up working for the company again in the future.

A Team That Works Together Stays Together

We are taught to work in teams throughout our entire life. Whether it was in sports, mandatory school projects or working on a team at the workplace, the importance of teamwork was emphasized and cooperation was anticipated. Why do we hold such prominence to a seemingly simple expectation? Well, when done correctly, teamwork can create a work culture of support, constructiveness, satisfaction and open communication. All of which leads to happy, productive workers. Read on for ways to assist in promoting effective teamwork in the workplace:

  • Divide the work

A team of individuals working together is more effective than one single person stretching themselves to make sure an assignment is finished on time.  Dividing the work is the perfect opportunity to showcase workers talents and areas of expertise. Teamwork does not mean everyone does everything together. Roles and responsibility can be assigned according to the individual’s preferences or specialties.

  • Ask for help

It’s completely acceptable to seek others assistance, expertise or support when you need it. Coming together to take on a task is what teamwork is all about.

  • Brainstorm together

Ideas can become stale when working in solitary. Brainstorming together encourages creativity and creates a fun environment where employees can express themselves and receive feedback from colleagues.

  • Rally a common goal

Sharing a common goal brings people closer, even more so at the workplace. Determining what the grand goal is and how every team member can contribute to reaching it demonstrates that dependency and trust among colleagues exist.

  • Celebrate as a team

Teamwork begins with working together and is even more rewarding when you celebrate together. Appreciating your teammates work and showing gratitude towards everyone’s contributions goes a long way. Reaching milestones towards a goal or accomplishing the goal itself is definitely worth celebrating, so why not do it together?

All it takes to work as a team is a consistent effort and collaboration. It may take some time to create a plan to enforce teamwork, but the results are worth it. After all, what could be better than supportive, satisfied employees working together?

At Nova Medical Centers, we thrive off working as a team with every patient, partner, and team member. We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional services and helping our clients prioritize their health and safety needs while assisting in creating the best possible working environment for their employees. Contact us for more information about any of our services. We’d be happy to have you on our team.


Written by Nayda Sanchez