Find out what you can do to become a stand-up co-worker. Plus: Are you a pushover?
It’s essential that you have a decent relationship with your co-workers since you see them so often, and often work side-by-side on projects or on daily work duties. But many employees who work in an office or cubicle setting know that workplace bliss isn't as prevalent as you might expect, and office etiquette seems more like an obscure idea than a common practice. Of course, not everyone’s going to agree on everything and you may not like everyone you work with. But for an office to be productive there needs to be some degree of harmony. Here are five tips to become a more considerate co-worker:
1. Gossip Queen
There’s a good chance that you have a gossiper among your co-workers, and if you are that person, listen up. Gossip can be detrimental to your career. Many times, gossip is inaccurate or completely untrue because information gets skewed along the way. Granted, people like to know juicy tidbits about the office, especially when it comes to salaries, fights and job status, but the more you gossip, the more people will eventually come to question your professionalism, honesty and trustworthiness.
2. Be Positive
There’s nothing worse than the co-worker who is always negative and constantly complaining about something. While venting frustrations may be okay to someone else in private, don’t let your whole office in on your woes. Be discreet about your complaints, and rather than letting them escalate, nip them in the bud quickly. Stop making big deals out of nothing. Also, don’t let yourself become the sounding board for that kind of annoying co-worker, because people might begin to associate your attitude with his or hers.
3. Silence is Golden
Small office spaces give way to being exposed to annoying co-worker’s habits. Whether it’s loud music, excessive gum popping, be considerate to those around you:
- Phones: Put the ringer volume on a low level or use a head set. Pick up the phone quickly and make sure to forward calls. Limit speakerphone use and keep your headset on.
- Talking: Talking in low voices about work is fine. Talking loudly about your hot date is not. If you want your personal life to stay your own business, refrain from personal phone calls or talking to your neighbor about the wild party last week. Also, hold meetings with your co-workers or clients in a conference room, or away from the other offices.
4. Respect Privacy
Your office space, desk or cubicle is your space, so why don’t you or your co-workers respect each other’s spaces? Privacy may seem like a silly concept when it comes to open work areas, but you should be able to expect a certain level of it. Here are a few tips for practicing office etiquette:
- Don’t hover over someone’s desk if they’re on the phone, focusing on work or if they didn't invite you into their space. Don’t read each other’s computer screen or listen in on other’s conversations and then put your two cents in.
- Don’t overpower your co-workers with smells. If you cook strong-smelling foods, don’t bring them to your desk to eat. Also, keep the cologne and perfume to a minimum. Believe it or not, too much scent can be nauseating to a neighbor.
5. Be a Team Player
While it’s true that you should always be looking out for your own career and the direction it’s headed, it’s also true that you work for a company, a group of people working toward a common goal. It’s not okay to try to get ahead at the expense of another by putting them down or spreading false accusations. Chances are you probably won’t look any better either, because bosses want to see an ability to form team camaraderie. Bosses also want to see that you’re valued by others rather than feared or disliked.
Now, maybe you can anonymously leave this article at the water cooler or fax machine for your co-workers to “accidentally” find for lunchtime reading. Or, if you were the one in need of a little refresher course on how to be a good co-worker, post this in your cubicle for a constant reminder.
Are You a Pushover?
Would Nancy Reagan be proud of your ability to "just say no" or would you actually follow your friends if they jumped off a bridge? Being a pushover may make you more likeable, but it doesn't make you more respectable. Find out just how much you're willing to bend when push comes to shove.
I hope all of us take something from this TIPS to better days ahead. Everyone really need a great relationship to have the best TEAM.