How to Support a Colleague or Friend at Work

Supporting your friends or colleagues in the office can be simple acts that yield great results. A quick note or a celebratory coffee can go a long way in boosting belonging in the workplace. Let’s explore the impact of mental health on company culture and how you can support your colleagues or friends at the office!

The Impact of Mental Health on Company Culture 

While the workforce is vastly different from what it was pre-COVID, mental health remains a concern. The more we can support each other as a community, the better a place the office will become to work. Here are a few statistics that outline some of the current mental health challenges: 

  • 1 in 5 employees feel lonelier or more isolated than before
  • Two-thirds of employees with access to mental health benefits feel very well supported
  • Teams with high psychological safety exceeded their targets by 17% on average
  • 42% of employees with access to mental health benefits say they are less likely to leave the company
  • 60% of employees feel emotionally detached from work
  • 68% of millennials and 81% of  Gen Zs left their jobs for mental health-related reasons in the last year



Validate Feelings

There are bound to be some struggles that come up at work. Sometimes the best thing to do is offer a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. We all want a comfortable, psychologically safe environment to work in, and the being that for others can help establish it for ourselves. Be sure to check in with your colleagues from time to time and invest in their growth. 

Boost Other’s Confidence

Imposter syndrome affects many people in the office, especially minority professionals. If you’re leading a team or spearheading a new project, having the confidence to lead can make all the difference. Become the cheerleader for others by reminding them of their accomplishments and offering compliments or positive feedback that boosts their confidence. 

Email Gratitude

When someone steps in to offer support, a great way to show appreciation is to thank them. Thank you’s should be specific about how they helped you and what about their help you appreciated. The reason for the thank you email instead of a message is to subtly let their managers know they are doing a great job by copying them on it. Your colleagues can save these emails for later performance reviews as well. 


Dear [Colleague’s Name],

I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the tremendous support you’ve provided recently. Your assistance on [specific project/task] was invaluable, and I am truly grateful for your willingness to share your expertise and time. Your insights enhanced the quality of our work and made the entire process enjoyable and enriching.

I am particularly thankful for [mention a specific action or contribution], which played a crucial role in [achieving a specific outcome or milestone]. Your dedication to excellence and your team-oriented approach have not gone unnoticed! 

Once again, thank you for your unwavering support. I look forward to working with you again.


[Your Name]

Small Gestures

A kind note or a cup of coffee can turn the day around for someone. A conscious effort once in a while will support your team and the people around you. Plus, kindness often passes on, and the whole office could change how they interact with each other just from your one gesture. 

Start a Team Celebration 

Instead of supporting one individual, gratitude can be a team celebration. It could include a gratitude wall where the team posts things they appreciate. Another example is a celebratory Slack channel or email chain where colleagues can post about their recent achievements. For more ideas, check out “How Gratitude Transforms Workplaces for Women.”

Take Them for Lunch

Having lunch outside the office can help to clear your mind and take a breather from the mundane workflow. Invite coworkers you want to get to know better or use it to network with other leaders in the company. 

Offer Productivity Strategies 

Offering advice on automating workflows and organizations can support someone’s daily office life. We get so used to doing a task one way that we forget there are alternative solutions to help streamline processes. Ask how your team handles their emails, what platforms they use to keep track of their projects, and more. 

Altering corporate culture won’t happen overnight. But a little bit of kindness each day can gradually lift each other and form an environment of belonging. Try it with your team and watch your workplace grow!

Meaningful professional relationships don’t have to come solely from the office! The International Association of Women connects professionals and entrepreneurs in every industry. We offer unlimited networking opportunities, personalized learning paths, discounts, and skill-building events! Check out how IAW can support your goals here

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