As a hybrid work schedule becomes the new normal for employers, others are experiencing office politics for the first time.

For many who entered the corporate world at the height of 2020, working from home was the only option during the pandemic. Since then, companies have slowly opened their doors to welcome employees back into the corporate space. While those deemed essential workers were the first to return, everyone else trickled in as time passed and clearances were granted. Four years later, corporations are reverting to back working in the office. Although some businesses only require a few days out of the week, there are instances where people have gone back to in-person work full-time. 

Many employees returning to an in-person office routine for the first time will soon be introduced to office politics. The Corporate Finance Institute described office politics as “the activities performed by individuals to improve their status and advance their personal agenda—sometimes at the expense of others.” While it’s a natural desire to climb the corporate ladder, office politics possess a negative connotation because it typically involves throwing a colleague under the bus to achieve success. 

With the right tools and mindset, a person can navigate the intricacies of office politics and create meaningful work connections instead.

Authenticity Will Take You Far

Earning your peers’ trust on all levels can get a person closer to their career goals versus pretending to be someone else. Authenticity doesn’t necessarily equal disclosing personal information such as family drama or dating history. Personal information should remain private because it could be used as ammunition in future instances. Instead, authenticity looks like honoring commitments, maintaining integrity, and not being easily swayed by other people’s opinions. People tend to respect others who have a mind of their own and aren’t afraid to stand in their convictions.

Try Remaining Neutral 

There’s no running away from office drama. But avoiding getting caught in the middle of it makes it easier to navigate when issues arise. A neutral stance helps avoid getting stuck in a situation where you must pick a side. By remaining impartial, you stay safe from any additional office drama that could result.

Praise Your Colleagues

You don’t have to be a manager or someone higher up in leadership to give credit where it’s due. People love to feel valued and appreciated for the work they’ve done. So take the opportunity to congratulate a colleague on a project they completed or any other tasks worth celebrating. Giving positive feedback motivates others and may even score you a few brownie points with your coworkers being fond of you.

Raise Your Visibility

With big corporations, it’s easy to become just another employee. This can make it challenging to be impactful in the office because only a few people know who you are. Also, it makes it harder to get recommended for opportunities because of not being on a person’s radar. By volunteering at events or choosing to assist on a team project, people will start to recognize you more. In return, you develop more influence that can be used later on.

Always Have Empathy

Everyone has issues and challenges they battle while at work. While it may be difficult to assess body language or tone, being the bigger person could work in your favor. Kindness is much harder to find in an office environment. But, it can go a long way in the future when dealing with office politics.