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Social traits like optimism, empathy and trustworthiness have dominated a list of the top 10 qualities British workers desire the most in colleagues.

A survey of 2009 UK adults by the One4all Rewards Spotlight Awards, quizzed respondents on the traits they value the most in co-workers, to craft a picture of the ‘perfect colleague.’

The data revealed that the ideal desk-mate would not only be good at their job, but also a confidante with a sunny disposition.

The ability to deliver results was voted the number one (37%) trait, but it was also important to Brits that they possessed social skills, such as optimism and enthusiasm, to keep the rest of the team in good spirits (31%), and that they were trustworthy enough to keep secret or listen to worries (30%).

In addition to these more social traits, Brits’ perfect co-worker would also display initiative (27%) and be knowledgeable about what they do (25%).

Other qualities UK workers deemed important in their ideal colleague included the ability to meet deadlines and be organised (24%) and being empathetic enough to offer a shoulder to cry on (18%).

The more dominant traits, such as leadership and competitiveness were less popular, with 13% and 4% respectively considering them important traits in colleagues.

Dedication, including putting in extra hours or arriving early, was not something that workers consider significantly important - suggesting those late nights in the office you spend in the office are not likely to score you brownie points with colleagues any time soon.

Declan Byrne, managing director at One4all Rewards, said: “We spend so much of our lives at work that our colleagues have a huge impact on us. What is interesting from this research is that British workers really are quite focussed - they rated effectiveness the number one most important trait in their ideal colleague.

“But it’s not all results focussed - British workers also hugely value having colleagues who can act as a bit of a friend - keeping everyone’s spirits up, as well as sharing secrets and worries. This is why we ensured the Spotlight Awards contains awards categories not only reflecting hard workers in different industries but also categories which recognise those who are empathetic enough to help their co-workers with their problems, such as the Office Sage Award, and the Team Player of the Year Award.”

The research also revealed which traits were valued the most by workers in different industries.

Skills-based traits, such as the ability to deliver results, knowledgeability and organisation were voted most important by the financial services (47%), marketing (50%) and education (32%) industries respectively.

Meanwhile, softer traits like empathy, optimism and enthusiasm, and trustworthiness were valued the highest by the financial services (39%), marketing (42%) and leisure and travel (37%) industries.

What do you think constitutes the 'perfect colleague'? Do you know anyone who fits the bill? Let us know @freshbusiness