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Survey Identifies Traits That Make Great Coworkers

Annie Erling Gofus - May 16 2022
Published in: Global Workforce
A recent survey finds that “collaborative” is the top trait of a great coworker

As more employees return to the workplace and some are considering a job transfer, the notion of being a decent coworker has become increasingly important. A recent survey by CapRelo, a worldwide employee relocation and assignment management company specializing in private and public sector clients, asked respondents what makes for an ideal coworker.

“We were curious about the connection between colleagues—especially as more are going back into the workplace and juggling a hybrid work environment,” explained Barry Morris, CEO, CapRelo. “Not surprisingly, we learned that working together with coworkers is very important. The results underscore the importance of work culture, and for those embarking upon a relocation for work, understanding how coworkers interact helps integrate into a productive environment faster.”

For the study, CapRelo interviewed 2,000 individuals from every state and assigned them a score of 1 to 5 (1 being terrible and 5 being outstanding) to assess their coworkers. The survey asked Americans about the most outstanding qualities of a coworker, how much they trust their coworkers, and how working from home affected coworker interactions.

According to the poll results, the national average is 3.79 out of 5. While most states do not deviate too far from this number, those on the West Coast and in the Northeast have higher coworker opinions than those in the South and Midwest.

The Green Mountain State — Vermont — is the leader of the Northeast's excellent coworker trend. Vermont has a distinct advantage over the competition: it has the best coworkers in the country, with a score of 4.05 out of 5. Meanwhile, the state where you'll most likely come across totally average coworkers appears to be North Dakota, which is also the only one that mirrors the national average of 3.79.

According to this poll, following close behind Vermont, New Hampshire and Minnesota are among the states where you are most likely to encounter fantastic coworkers. These states earned a tie for the second spot with ratings that are 5.50% above the national average. New Jersey and Wisconsin shared eighth place with coworker ratings that were 3.09% above the average. Nevada has the worst-rated coworkers in the country, with a rating 12.44% lower than the national average.

Now that we know how Americans feel about their coworkers, the next step is to figure out what makes a great coworker. The majority of workers (35.9%) believe that a coworker's most desirable quality is being collaborative. Other traits people like to see in a coworker are honesty (22.1%), adaptability (14.6%), and being communicative (10.3%).

On the other side of the spectrum, passive-aggressive behavior (33.7%), excuse-making (18.4%), entitlement (15%), gossiping (14.6%), and being a control freak (14.4%) are all traits that Americans believe their coworkers should be without. Some of these characteristics can cause coworkers to distrust each other and may contribute to the fact that 72% of Americans are anxious that things essential at work would not be finished if they were away for any length of time.

While "fun" was not among the most prominent characteristics mentioned, it may be an essential element of employment for many Americans, particularly younger people. Every generation agreed that it was more important for a colleague to be competent at their work than pleasant. However, whereas 43% of Generation Z employees value a coworker who is enjoyable to work with more than one who is excellent at their task, just 16% of Baby Boomers feel the same.

Employees value their coworkers and notice when they are absent. In fact, the survey revealed that 65% of Americans talk to their coworkers outside of work, 68% keep in touch with coworkers from old jobs, and 20% said they would apply to a job just to work with a former coworker again. According to the survey, 45% of people feel comfortable discussing personal difficulties with their coworkers, and 19% are close enough to their coworkers to tell them things they wouldn't tell their family.

How has American life adapted to working remotely, and how much of an impact has it had on employee relationships? According to the study, 34% of remote-working Americans believe that being able to work from home has benefited company culture. Working from home has had a positive influence on their relationships with coworkers, according to 18% of respondents. Thirty-three percent of respondents believe it has encouraged them to form connections with their coworkers.